In the second of our Mental Health Awareness Week blogs we examine the growing problem of stress and anxiety in the workplace.
A study by HR Review 2018 revealed that: “Nearly a third of UK businesses say that mental health is now a bigger issue among employees than physical illness”. Anxiety at work is often not mentioned or even ignored by individuals because they fear their employer or colleagues will judge them. They may feel that if they admit they suffer with anxiety they will be viewed as unfit or incapable of performing their job to the required standard.
As well as anxiety, there is the common occurrence of workplace stress. Some stress is normal and can help you stay energetic and focused in the workplace by keeping you alert and able to meet the challenges ahead. However, when stress exceeds an individual’s ability to cope, it is no longer helpful but is harmful to the individual and the working environment.
Excessive workplace stress and anxiety is more than just the feeling of being under pressure to meet deadlines. The type of workplace stress that is constant and unrelenting is known as ‘chronic stress’. There are many factors that can cause stress in the workplace. These include:
- People-related issues including workplace bullying
- Worklife balance
- Ageism in the workplace
- Excessive or high-pressured work load
- Job insecurity
There are a number of techniques that will help alleviate stress and anxiety at work:
- Ensure you take regular breaks. Constantly sitting at a desk in front of a computer screen can cause lethargy. Getting some fresh air and exercise during your lunch break will help you take your mind off work and make you more productive on your return.
- Try not to bring your work home with you. You need to disconnect from your job outside of working hours if you are suffering from stress or anxiety. You must learn to relax and recharge. This will help you to be more positive and switched on when you return to work.
- Talk to you HR Manager if you feel you are overburdened with work. They can provide advice and guidance on reducing stress and can help you develop coping strategies.
- Ask for help from a colleague, or request assistance from senior management. You may need to recruit an assistant to help with the workload.
Remember, stress and anxiety at work should not be ignored. Make sure you take action to reduce your overall stress levels and regain a sense of control at work.