24.10.2023

The importance of stress awareness, giving hustle culture the boot!


Why is it important to acknowledge stress awareness week in the workplace?

All too often, stress is something that is as common in the workplace as a shared microwave or employee birthday leftover cake. Stress can incorporate a number of physical and emotional attributes such as anxiety, stomach complaints, headaches and lethargy, among other symptoms, and the workplace has a legal responsibility to ensure that their employees wellbeing is always considered. See NHS link for more details of stress-

(https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/feelings-symptoms-behaviours/feelings-and-symptoms/stress/)

Stress Awareness week, organised by International Stress Management Association, ISMAUK, is their ‘major annual event focusing on stress management and campaigning against the stigma associated with stress and mental health issues.’ By highlighting the importance via a specific period such as Stress Awareness Week, it offers an opportunity for individuals to reflect and reassess their working habits, and also for the company to raise awareness, offer training, create and host wellbeing events, and most importantly, encourage a healthy work/life balance.

What is Hustle Culture?

According to a BBC article, “The hustle-culture narrative promotes the idea that there’s always more to strive for.” This notion that the harder you work, and the longer your hours spent at work could be viewed as a positive is something that should be challenged, as it doesn’t promote the work-life balance that is now encouraged. Good Housekeeping states, In certain work spaces overworking is expected, applauded and sometimes incentivized with promotions or raises.’

This unhealthy perspective to work can lead to burnout. According to Mental Health UK, ‘Burnout is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion. It can occur when you experience long-term stress, for example, working a stressful job.’ Hustle Culture is something that could contribute towards burnout, as its characteristics of working long-hours, high stress and pressure levels, and an atmosphere that encourages or rewards those hard workers means that employees are wanting to stay in the loop and chase the promotion, salary increase, or status that they hope to achieve.

 What can companies do to encourage a healthy work-life balance?

Employers have a responsibility to care for their employees. An employee should feel well cared for and that their wellbeing is priority, benefiting both the individual and the employee as ‘Poor mental health is linked to increased employee absenteeism and to decreased productivity and employee retention.’ (Joyful.Living.co) Encouraging a work-life balance and an open-door policy where concerns can be raised without stigma is a great starting point. To step off the treadmill of hustle culture and change habits that might in long ingrained might feel difficult to begin with, but with an encouraging employer, ‘it is possible to set a new rhythm for yourself, even if it’s just small changes here and there.’ (Good Housekeeping)

 What services or initiatives would complement a healthy employee wellbeing program?

A healthy wellbeing program should be ongoing and evolving to suit the nature and needs of the company and its employees. It is more than just raising awareness on specific health awareness days or an annual weekend away. It should involve practices that encourage employers to:

  • Develop mental health awareness among employees
  • Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing
  • Mental health ‘first aid’ training for employees.

These are some of the many tools that companies such as Joyful Living can offer. By outsourcing to specialists, companies can feel reassured that their employees are receiving the correct training and care; thus, working towards a healthy employee workforce.

 

 

References

https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/feelings-symptoms-behaviours/feelings-and-symptoms/stress

https://isma.org.uk/isma-international-stress-awareness-week

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20230417-hustle-culture-is-this-the-end-of-rise-and-grind

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/wellness/a38416524/hustle-culture/

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/a-z-topics/work-life-balance

https://joyful-living.co/our-services/mental-health/mental-health-workshops/mental-health-awareness-for-managers/

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