MORE working days are lost due to work-related stress and anxiety than anything else. A study last year by the Health and Safety Executive in the UK found that 57% of all sick days were caused by work-related stress, anxiety and depression. The second most prevalent workplace illnesses was back and muscle conditions.
In my contact with candidates it’s quite surprising how many people are looking for a new job because of experiencing stress or anxiety in their current job. The main causes seem to be being short staffed and overworked, having a bully in the office or generally feeling like the work-life balance is off track.
There are things you can do to help your situation, without feeling an immediate need to throw in the towel. Here are my top five tips:
1. Start the day better – a lot of stress starts before you even get to work. Rushing to get the children to school, getting stuck in traffic and missing the last 10-hour space on North Beach is never a good start to a day. Planning and preparing uniforms and lunches the night before as well as setting off slightly earlier can work wonders for your mood in the office.
2. Prioritise your workload – anyone who says they don’t need a list is wrong. It’s vital that you have a clear plan and that you try not to flit around too much. Multitasking might have been admired at one time. But time has told that it does nothing for your accuracy, productivity or, ultimately, your mental health.
3. Don’t get involved – if there is friction in the office, and it has nothing to do with you, stay away! Avoiding other people’s issues and problems (without being unkind to someone in need) is a good way of protecting yourself. Avoiding getting involved in gossip is one of the best ways of steering clear of conflict.
4. Eat right and get plenty of sleep –tirednessis well-known for making people grumpy, irritable and less tolerant. In a workplace, where there are lots of personalities and issues already bubbling under the surface, this can be a lethal combination. It will also affect concentration levels. Similarly, if you are eating the wrong foods your energy levels may not be quite what they should be.
5. Take your breaks – go and have a wander round town or sit on a bench watching the boats come in and out of the harbour. People will think no less of you for taking what you’re entitled to. As more and more people eat at their desks it can become difficult to take your lunch hour or morning/ afternoon breaks. But having that time out allows you to recharge your batteries and refocus on the job in hand. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for having a break.
Employers, too, have a big responsibility to ensure their staff are happy and healthy. In Guernsey we are quite lucky as we have a number of employers, big and small, that go that extra mile to make their staff’s working day a more enjoyable experience.
There are a number of in-office initiatives locally surrounding health and wellbeing; this could be in office talks by health practitioners, in office massages or yoga sessions or lunch time swimming clubs. Some of our clients have invested heavily in office refurbishments, incorporating breakout areas and quiet spaces.
When it comes to people looking for a new job, stress can be a contributing factor to candidates we talk to. It can be created by varying reasons from a lack of training, being under-resourced, to piling up work pressure.
With work and social pressures affecting many, there’s an essential need for employers to be conscious of employees’ mental health in order to prevent burnout or any lasting effects that see them unable to continue in their posts.
Having a happy, engaged work force that know that their employer cares, will not only ensure quality levels of service but will increase loyalty, commitment and build a business reputation that will ensure you attract the best talent.
If any of this rings true with you, come and have a chat with one of our experts. You’re at work for a large proportion of your life so it’s important you’re happy. Give us a call on 714634, or email [email protected]