What can you do to reduce excessive stress and burnout? It is clear that understanding of the problem among employers remains relatively low. Angela Knox, director of workplace employee wellbeing program Keep Fit Eat Fit, says: ?Recognising burnout or excessive stress in employees is a vital part of the HR manager?s work, and one which sadly often gets overlooked. If employers have systems in place that are designed for regular monitoring of each employee, then problems can be identified and dealt with before they escalate. Opportunities to intervene can easily be missed.? In larger companies with higher head counts it is a good idea for the head of HR to have eyes and ears in the various departments so that they can keep track of any key developments or problems before they occur.? There are plenty of steps that people can take in order to reduce stress and the risk of burnout, and employers can proactively encourage these among their employees.
- Encourage regular exercise.?Even the shortest 10-minute brisk walk can have a real impact on mood and motivation; it doesn?t have to be a 10-mile run. Getting away from the desk to exercise in the fresh air has a direct link to increased productivity.
- Ensure employees don?t sit at their desks for too long.?Humans are not made to sit for long periods, and a five-minute desk break every hour reduces the risk of injury, refocuses the mind and helps break the monotony of both home and office working ? even if it?s just a walk to the kitchen for a cup of tea.
- Encourage quitting unhealthy habits.?Poor diet and excessive drinking both have a major impact on a person?s stress levels, as does smoking. In fact, a recent?study found that quitting smoking?made immediate positive improvements to mental health, especially after the first four weeks.
- Make sure people talk to their line manager.?Communication is what prevents those initial feelings of pressure, anxiety or demotivation from becoming mental health problems like burnout. The sooner an employer is aware of the problem, the sooner they can do something about it.
- Set up routine catch-ups with the team.?With a large number of employees now working from home, it?s important to keep lines of communication open to keep the social aspect of work. This reduces the feeling of isolation and has positive a impact on wellbeing.
- Promote mental health days.?Fostering a workplace culture where people don?t feel guilty for occasionally taking the day off sick ? even if they?ve not got a physical illness ? will help alleviate longer-term stress and maintain morale.
- Push annual leave.?Employees should be encouraged to use all of their holiday allowance each year, even if they?re not going away anywhere. This fosters a healthier work environment and creates a better work-life balance that benefits everybody.
Read more:Managing job burnout during a crisis Employers, ignore millennial burnout at your peril The five signs that you?re heading for burnout
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