14 November 2013

10 Tips for Stress Management: For Managers, Leaders and Supervisors

IPAA WA's Leadership and Management facilitator Mr Alistair Box was interviewed by Business News this month on how employers can help manage the stress of their employees. Below is an extract from the article.

"A lot of people avoid having those personal discussions because they think they're going to get emotional or angry."

“If it’s a personal issue the manager then needs to know how to refer that person to the employee assistance program, or they need to know how to talk to that person about workload and burnout and how to deal with that,” Mr Box said.

Tips for Managing Employee Mental Wellbeing

1. Limit Technology

Psychologists agree bombarding employees with information through technology has a detrimental impact on their wellbeing. Advocate email-free days or limit emails if person-to-person contact is more appropriate. Encourage staff to avoid accessing work emails out of hours.

2. Encourage Collaboration

Collaboration is not only beneficial for productivity in a creative sense, it also gives employees a sense of support. Working as a team takes away stress an employee may feel from ‘going it alone’ to get the job done.

3. Balance Employee Workload

Stress can be managed effectively when employees have a balanced level of challenge in their workload. If an employee finds a job too easy, they may become bored and disengaged, but if it’s too challenging, stress will build up. Staff also feel more resilient and confident in their ability to do the job if the right level of challenge is present in the workload.

4. Encourage ‘Thinking Time’

Allow employees to take time out to simply think about how they’re going to tackle a job or project. If employees are constantly distracted by other, less important tasks, they’re likely to lose track of time and become stressed by not attending to the highest priority.

5. Allow Mental Health Days

Australia’s employment law doesn’t yet accommodate mental health days, and these will be taken from sick leave. However, acknowledging an employee is having mental wellbeing issues is integral to addressing the problem.

6. Provide Support

Counselling through an employee-asistance program gives staff the comfort of knowing employers are looking out for them. They may not access the service, but they’re likely to feel more engaged with th workplace if the service is on offer.

7. Develop Leadership  Competency

Having a manager who can recognise issues with employees’ emotional well-being, and then knowing how to manage the situation, is imperative for facilitating a mentally healthy workforce.

8. Educate Staff

Not everyone is aware of the effect of good nutrition and physical activity on cognitive function. Educate staff on these issues to help them choose healthy alternatives in the workplace.

9. Encourage Team Activities

Many organisations encourage employees to take part in corporate team sports. Not only does activity result in improved mental wellbeing for the individual, partaking in non-work related activity with team members builds comradeship.

10. Lead By Example

Adoption of stress reduction strategies is much more likely if led by management. Here, chief executives are the facilitators of change.

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