The 2021 International Stress Awareness Week, organised by ISMAUK since 2018 to raise awareness about stress prevention, is coming once again this 1-5 November.
This year, an analysis of stress in the workplace cannot be conducted without taking into account the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on companies and employees.
Main causes of stress at work
According to CIPD, the main causes of stress in the workplace which companies and employees report are:
- Relationships, at and outside work
- Personal/health issues.
- Workloads/volume of work
- COVID-related anxiety
- Poor work–life balance due to homeworking as a result of COVID-19
- Relationships at work
- Management style
Covid-19 and its impact on stress in the workplace
According to HSE between 2019 and 2020 there have been:
- 828,000 Workers suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety
- 9 million Working days lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety
The common understanding is that Covid-19 has brought disruption for businesses whilst also creating additional causes of stress for employees. Employees working from home have experienced additional demands to their workload such as:
- having to manage home-schooling and childcare
- feelings of isolation from lack of social contact
- difficulty in adapting to new routines and working environment
- difficulty in coping with stress and maintaining own mental health
- deterioration in work–life balance.
In conclusion, many employees, have experienced a worsening in their physical and mental wellbeing during the pandemic and the challenges derived from homeworking and its impact on work–life balance are among the most common causes of stress in the workplace.
Covid-19 and Mental Health
Research conducted by the CIPD on the impact of COVID-19 in the UK shows that employees have been experiencing mental health issues, including stress, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress symptoms and burnout, even more so when there was an existing mental health condition.
The Businesses Response to Employee Wellbeing during the pandemic
The pandemic has forced organisations to bring employee wellbeing to the top of their agenda. The wellbeing offer that Companies have been providing has ranged from employee assistance programmes, to counselling services, stress management and resilience training and flexible working options.
Special support has been given to address the challenges of working from home, with the aim to support deteriorating employee mental and physical wellbeing. This has been conducted in the form of virtual wellbeing services, such as wellbeing workshops to improve individuals’ ability to manage stress (Mindfulness, Stress Management, Resilience) and classes or workshops to promote their physical wellbeing (Yoga and Fitness classes, Nutrition workshops).
Mental health has been the main focus of the corporate response to employee wellbeing, with an increase in MHFA Mental Health First Aid and Mental Health Awareness courses provided, in order to raise employee awareness of their own mental health and enable managers and colleagues to support individuals in need.
Some concerns about the corporate response to employee wellbeing after Covid-19
Despite the corporate response to the Pandemic in support of employee wellbeing, there is still an overall concern about the impact of the pandemic on employees’ mental health. In addition, according to CIPD, just 54% of employees believe the measures taken have been effective at dealing with the consequences of the pandemic and homeworking on mental health.
Employees also express concern about the skills of managers in supporting mental health. Whilst a growing number of companies has provided MHFA Mental Health Champions and Mental Health First Aiders training, other organisations haven’t.
Considering the fundamental role managers have in identifying mental health issues and support individuals at risk, training managers is critical to meet to challenges to employee wellbeing posed by the pandemic.
Managing mental health and stress has been a growing challenge for businesses as a consequence of Covid-19.
Organisations can meet this challenge by putting employee wellbeing on the top of their agenda and updating their procedures to face new working conditions. Providing support for remote workers, stress management and mental health training and training managers to support effectively their employees is paramount.
At Joyful Living we have been supporting businesses during the whole pandemic. Our range of services is aimed at promoting employee physical and mental wellbeing, engagement and providing education on wellbeing matters to increase quality of life at work and at home.
Contact Us to know more
HSE – Work-related stress, anxiety or depression statistics in Great Britain, 2020
CIPD – Health and wellbeing at work 2021