An extremely important part of employee wellness is ensuring that stress levels are managed effectively within the work environment. This should be an ongoing task for all team members, managers, coordinators and directors in the workplace. From a business perspective, we all want our employees to be working at their best, most productive performance levels. When any staff members take time off work, this can have a negative impact on the business. You may even need to employ a temporary worker to cover the workload while the member of staff is absent, otherwise other staff members may feel stretched to cover the additional responsibilities or, even worse, work may start to pile up with no one to deal with it. This is a downward spiral that can lead to more stress and workplace anxiety. However, by effectively managing stress in the workplace, every member of staff can enjoy increased productivity and a happier environment. So when does stress generally occur? There are many examples but three main scenarios are: High levels of demand on employees Fraught working relationships Poor support from management Therefore, we’ve put together our top recommendations on how to prevent and deal with stress in the workplace to manage it effectively and improve overall wellbeing in the work environment. Flexible working This is a highly sought after benefit in the workplace. By allowing jobs and working hours to be flexible, and by ensuring that you consult with employees about changes that are likely to affect them, you’re allowing them to give their opinion and be valued. Ask them whether they want more responsibility, ask them if they feel it would be beneficial to leave early on a Friday and make up that time earlier in the week – it’s all about communication and providing flexible working for all. Give praise This is a simple but effective way of reducing stress. Recognising your team’s efforts and achievements can positively impact morale and productivity. Offer words of encouragement and make sure employees feel valued, as this can go a long way towards managing stress levels. Lead by example All employees should be encouraged to adopt a healthy lifestyle, but managers in particular should set a positive example by managing their working hours, ensuring they take breaks away from their desk and taking their annual leave entitlement. It’s important to promote a healthy work/life balance. Talk about it Ensure that you’re communicate and talking with staff regularly. These should be through a variety of informal and formal settings, such as face-to-face one-to-one meetings, emails, phone calls and team meetings. If staff have time off on sick leave, complete a return to work interview with them, as this will help to identify staff at risk of suffering from stress at an earlier stage. You can also take this opportunity to ask about the factors contributing to this stress, which you can then take steps to address and improve. When our work environment is busy and filled with deadlines, it’s easy to put ‘stress management’ at the bottom of our to-do lists. But take some time this April, which is National Stress Awareness Month, to evaluate the levels of stress in your workplace. Talk with your colleagues about daily stresses and consider the little things that you can do and incorporate into your daily work routine to improve your wellness and wellbeing.