At Prime we used Stress Awareness Month (April) to share top tips for managing and supporting stressed employees.

Stress has increased

Our director Steve Harcourt said inflation, astronomical fuel prices, the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent shake-up of everyday working have all contributed to people experiencing higher levels of stress than in previous years.

Steve said that amid the ongoing economic and global changes, all employers should look after staff wellbeing in the workplace, both physical and mental.

Talking steps to combat stress

Here at Prime, we have mental health first aiders at each of our locations, and have enrolled every manager on a mental health wellbeing workshop.

Steve said: When March 2020 hit and everyone was given the order to work from home, many people found their work-related stress reduced, with no commute, fewer client meetings and higher productivity.

However, for others, it brought immense stress. In fact, a report from Champion Health, which polled 2,200 UK employees, found the main causes of stress at work were related to workload, lack of control and less support.

As employers, I believe it is our responsibility to look after our teams and ensure we are doing our best to help reduce stress in the workplace.

Our approach

We've achieved bronze accreditation in the Thrive at Work scheme run by the West Midlands Combined Authority, a programme which helps identify employers who are committed to excellence in employee mental health and wellbeing.

Steve added: Our approach is two-pronged; preventative processes and interventional support, something which I believe can be implemented by many other businesses in the region.

The first stage is about implementing processes that create a stress-free working environment, which includes transparent two-way communication.

Through simple communication, employers can provide training, advice and constructive feedback, all of which helps build confidence and reduce stress.

Social activities and charity fundraising events outside of the office environment can help relieve stress and build camaraderie within the team; a vital characteristic of positive work culture and something we really embrace here at Prime.

Finally, implementing a flexible working pattern can play a key role in helping those feeling stressed. A flexible approach can support them in a way that best suits the individual team member, resulting in higher productivity and a desire to deliver their best.

Interventional support

Steve said that while preventative measures can be put in place, some stress can't be avoided, meaning interventional support is required.

We urge businesses to train employees in mental health first aid and ensure they have access to further mental health support and resources such as MIND, he added.

When stressed employees are struggling, trained individuals can recognise the key symptoms such as panic attacks, headaches, sweating or shaking when going into meetings, unexpected absences and reduced productivity.

We believe that all support starts with a conversation. We understand that we are not the experts, and all we can do is have open communication, show understanding of circumstances and signpost those struggling to get expert assistance.

About the Author: Steve Harcourt

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