Recreation of a psilocybin treatment session for depression in an image from the company COMPASS Pathways, which is developing the treatment – Copyright COMPASS Pathways/AFP –
Stress it’s a problem in the lives of many people, including those who experience stress in the workplace. However, defining stress is not easy. the use of the term ‘stress’ it extends to conditions ranging from even the mildest challenging stimulation to severely aversive conditions.
In recent years there has been an increase in stress factors, especially due to the pandemic and changes in the world of work. Analyzing some of these changes to Digital magazine It’s Chelsea Coates, GWI’s People Manager.
Says Coates: “Whether it’s political turmoil or the changes brought about by the pandemic, everyone has had a lot to deal with in recent years. And now, with the cost of living crisis acting as an additional stressor, it is critical that mental health support in the workplace is prioritized.
This means real action-based support.”
There is a big focus on employers and the actions they take to address stress. Coates recommends: “For today’s companies, superficial strategies are not enough. An important element of any mental health program is training, both for leaders and managers – according to recent GWI data, 34% of employees want to see this type of training company-wide.”
Coates adds that training and development is essential in developing the ‘health at work’ toolkit: “A manager who has received this training is much more likely to spot when a person is struggling with their mental health and set plans to give you the best support. The right level of understanding and training around mental health is no longer nice but necessary.”
Coates extols the benefits of approaches such as: “We also found that 51 per cent of people want employers to provide mental wellness leave or days off. As the line between our work and personal lives has blurred during COVID-19, giving employees this mental space can help safeguard their mental health and create a positive and productive work environment.”
Also researching the topic of stress in the workplace is Alyene Schneidewind, LogicMonitor’s director of performance.
Schneidewind says a key goal should be to “help people recognize, manage, and reduce stress in their personal and professional lives. While there have been significant advances in recent years, we are not there yet, and protecting the well-being of staff is a continuous process of learning and improvement.”
This is something that people need help with and here the employer has to play an important role: “It is crucial that companies recognize the stressors of the last year. We have come out of a global pandemic and into a cost of living crisis in the UK, at the same time as we are facing an impending global recession. Now, and always, we need team leaders who are not shy about having difficult conversations about the myriad of external factors that affect people at work and can throw off work-life balance. Leaders must serve as valuable guides and coaches, who lead by example in promoting self-care and creating safe and supportive environments that provide a sense of belonging.”
Schneidewind lays out some recommendations: “One of our key focus areas for employee well-being is flexibility, which came to the fore during the pandemic and is a priority that is here to stay. To support flexibility and our remote workforce, we are helping teams define new operational rhythms that allow them to collaborate synchronously, while allowing them to unlock their high-performance potential asynchronously. We believe this will play a critical role in reducing stress, preventing team burnout and going a long way in empowering people to bring their best selves to work.”
As for local practices, Schneidewind finds: “Our goal is to offer a holistic approach to employee wellness, including access to meditation sessions, fitness reimbursement, and global fitness challenges. But after years of being deprived of human connection, our focus has also turned to ensuring our staff feel connected. These efforts range from building connections through purpose, doing a trash clean-up together in kayaks, to building connections through humor, doing an improv exercise of “Yes, and…” together on Zoom.” .
Schneidewind’s final recommendation and observation is: “As the modern workplace evolves, what will never change is our culture of belonging and connection. We will always care about each other’s success and win as a team, wherever we are in the world.”