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Earlier this month ISO 45003 was published as the world’s first full International Standard. Its introduction marks the first global standard giving practical guidance on managing psychological health in the workplace.
As well as helping organisations and HR professionals to build a more positive working environment, adopting a framework for managing psychological health and safety (like ISO 45003) can help to improve the business’s resilience and enhance the performance and productivity of its employees, as well as increase engagement, improve recruitment, retention and diversity, drive innovation and compliance and reduce absence from workplace stress, burnout, anxiety and depression.
Pre-COVID, we witnessed an increased focus on workplace wellbeing but, over the last 18 months, the pandemic has heaped unexpected emotional and psychological challenges on workers, leading to increased incidences of mental ill health and Pandemic Burnout.
Those who continued to work as ‘normal’ – key workers, for example – faced additional stress from increased workloads, new routines, frustrated customers, potential exposure to the virus and much more. Those who were sent home on 23 March 2020 and have been there ever since, have had to endure the emotional rollercoaster of Teams calls, social isolation and home schooling. Unsurprisingly, many workers have experienced extended periods of stress and anxiety as we’ve watched our mental health take a tumble.
When the UK fully lifts the remaining lockdown restrictions, many workers will start to return to the office and, in doing so, face a whole new set of challenges that could trigger anxiety, including the commute, adopting new routines and adapting to enhanced health and safety procedures in the office.
This has accelerated the need for employees to address employee wellbeing, to define their 'next normal' and adapt health, safety and wellbeing strategies to reflect the ever-changing working landscape. In partnership with Mind and sponsored by Westfield Health, the Workplace Wellbeing Show Connect is hosting a live, online panel debate at 2pm on Wednesday 16 June called Wellbeing considerations as we return to work in ‘the new normal’. It’s free to attend and registration is open now.
Here are a few more tips to help you reduce workplace stress among your teams:
1. Continue to allow flexible and remote working: a staggered return will help employees ease their way back with minimal stress; consider allowing part-time remote working on a permanent basis.
2. Introduce support services: free telephone lines and counselling services for employers as well as training for middle and senior management to recognise when employees are struggling and to know where to direct them for support
3. Engage and reward employees: this will result in happier, better motivated, valued, loyal and productive workers
4. Establish clear career goals: employees who can visualise promotions, opportunities and a future will have higher morale, be happier and less inclined to leave
5. Build in breaks: design roles that allow a work-life balance to avoid exhaustion and actively encourage employees to take breaks and book holidays
6. Promote healthy habits: reduce employee stress with free/subsidised gym memberships, yoga mornings, health check-ups and fruit baskets
7. Team building: encourage team bonding so workers feel confident to support and learn from each other
Workplace Wellbeing Show Connect is hosting a free, live and online panel debate at 2pm on Wednesday 16 June called Wellbeing considerations as we return to work in ‘the new normal’.
If you found this article interesting, you may like this: https://www.shponline.co.uk/podcasts/work-related-stress-and-the-wellbeing-of-frontline-workers/.