Stress awareness day 180Employers and employees should to listen to their bodies more to reduce the number of working days lost to stress, according to workplace wellbeing specialists The Fourfront Group

The message from the organisation, timed to coincide with National Stress Awareness Day, is aimed at reducing the 13.3 million working days that are lost every year due to stress, depression and anxiety, according to the Mental Health Foundation. The International Stress Management Association has chosen the theme for this year’s National Stress Awareness Day as ‘employee wellbeing is a worthwhile investment in your business’.

Fourfront suggest that a happier and healthier workforce should be at the forefront of business leaders’ agendas. The organisation is aiming to use the annual stress awareness campaign as a catalyst for conversation. 

Leeson Medhurst, a workplace consultant at Fourfront, has provided 4 tips for managing stress:
Get talking
In order to increase performance and productivity, as well as staff morale, loyalty and retention, businesses need to monitor their employees’ health, happiness and wellbeing levels by establishing an open and honest communications policy. Employees should be able to approach their peers and managers about issues concerning their wellbeing without feeling judged.
Companies should set up cosy and comfortable communal areas that individuals can use as a breakaway space when workloads get demanding. By promoting professional relationships by utilising space to encourage dialogue, business directors will get much more from their staff. However, talking will only get you so far – it’s about listening too. According to the likes of Richard Branson, listening is the key to all effective and worthwhile conversation. Being a good listener can help you see the world through the eyes of others. If companies are concerned about their internal or external communications, there are courses available that offer listening skills training. 

Get moving
Numerous research studies have said that regular exercise can help to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Regardless of whether individuals are primarily desk-based, there are ways and means of ensuring workers can undertake physical activity during contracted hours. Stretching and walking are two of the easiest activities that can help relieve mental and physical tension. Employers should encourage people to take their breaks; desk-side lunching is not healthy, nor is it particularly helpful in refreshing tired minds. 

Get drinking
Get your employees drinking more water. Dehydration hinders an individual’s ability to process information and produce work. Even mild dehydration impacts productivity; it also has a negative effect on general health and wellbeing. Invest in water-dispensing units or ensure that individuals have access to fresh, cool running water. It’s easy to forget to drink water so businesses can also display signs to encourage people to refill their glass at least a few times every day. 

Get balanced
It is important that companies encourage a flexible work/life balance. We’ve all heard the saying; ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ – if a person isn’t allowed sufficient time to switch off from work, either in the workplace or at home, then the person in question will become bored and boring. If companies wish to strive for a creative, productive, energetic and happy workforce, business leaders should review their communications policies, encourage physical exercise, create comfortable spaces and allow employees to work and play in equal measure.