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Supporting employees dealing with stress

26 September 2019

Stress can have a serious negative impact on physical and mental health. It can cause depression, insomnia, and fatigue, as well as changes in eating habits. Stress also contributes to heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. In addition, stress can affect work performance and damage personal relationships.

The stigma surrounding mental health and expression of negative emotions such as stress sometimes prevents people from seeking help, out of fear of being judged or dismissed. This can lead to a vicious cycle.

Approaching and supporting someone who is going through a stressful time can help them begin to relieve some of the stress, and perhaps even encourage them to seek professional help. It also helps foster stronger work relationships.

How to speak WITH stressed employees

Mental health issues are best treated in an early stage. If you're under the impression an employee is stressed, find an opportunity to talk to them privately and ask them how they're doing. They might not be willing to talk in that moment, but let them know you're available whenever they feel ready.

When speaking with someone dealing with chronic stress, it’s important to be compassionate and to listen without judgement. Talking about mental health can be difficult for some people, so acknowledge that vulnerability. Encourage them to talk about their experience and their feelings by asking open questions.

Most importantly, remove the stigma of mental health care and let the employee know which resources and tools are at their disposal.

10 Ways Employers Can Show Stress Support

  1. Flexible working hours
  2. Job security
  3. Special paid leave
  4. Set-up relaxation rooms
  5. Shorter working week
  6. Time off for personal interests
  7. Employer-sponsored physical activities
  8. Flexibility to work from home
  9. Employer-sponsored activities to manage mental health
  10. Enforce “Do not disturb” during weekends and holidays