The real cost of work-related stress. Are you protecting your teams?

Last month shocking figures published by the Government revealed that between £70bn and £100bn is lost by business through mental health issues per year.

Chief Medical office Dame Sally Davies said the costs were "astounding" and bosses needed to treat mental health "more like physical health". Furthermore, figures compiled by the Health and Safety Executive show that stress is the second most commonly self-reported work related illness. An estimated 428,000 workers suffered work related stress in 2011/2012, each took an estimated 24 days off, which equates to over 10m working days lost.

Successfully managing stress

Stress at work is a major issue and to successfully manage and prevent it you need to actively promote positive working practices to alleviate it. Through support and training you can enable individuals to cope and manage with challenges that may lead to poor mental health. If you think this is a fluffy part of learning and development – think again; it's the law. HSE guidelines set standards that need to be complied with in order to address stress in the workplace.

Research by Shawn Anchor at Harvard University showed that helping employees manage stress and creating a positive working environment increased overall productivity by up to 30%. One of the best ways to successfully manage stress is to ensure managers and middle managers have the correct skills to support, manage and develop their teams. Techniques to help manage mood, put others in 'good humour', promote resilience and motivation are a must. Being approachable and supportive and recognising when others need you are vital skills in today's working environment. Laughology understands the importance of the manger's role in keeping teams healthy and happy to minimise work related stress and illness that could potentially be costly to organisations.

Promoting a positive working environment

Here are some of the key elements to consider when promoting a positive working environment where teams are healthy, mentally astute and flexible to change:

  1. Manager development which includes emotional intelligence training combined with skills and techniques to help teams when the pressure is on. Managers should understand how to motivate and support teams through competencies, performance and praise.
  2. Co-worker support groups and positive working champions who can support people when they need it. Such groups also create a positive attitude to support rather than an avoidance of stress issues.
  3. Environmental changes that are easy to do but create a better atmosphere.
  4. Good communication lines between all levels.

Top three tips to help you and your team work better today:

  1. Write down three new things you and your team are grateful for each day. Research shows this will significantly improve your optimism, boost problem-solving skills and raise team success rates. This exercise helps to switch the brain from thinking about negatives to looking at positive solutions.
  2. Get your team talking or writing for up to two minutes a day describing one positive experience they've had in the past 24 hours. Share this with others. This strategy can raise morale in teams hugely and help people engage with their work, creating purpose and meaning in what they do.
  3. Write a quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising a member of your team. This significantly increases feelings of social support, which in studies on engagement and happiness in teams is the largest predictor of positive outcomes and productivity.

Laughology has worked for many years developing strategies and programmes to promote positive working environments in organisations. Our programmes are based on scientific research and include measurable outcomes. We know focusing on well-being and creating a happy workforce improves productivity and output.

Find out more about our scientific approach

email us at info@laughology.co.uk or call us today to have an informal chat about designing a bespoke programme for you and your team.

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