This week is mental health awareness week and as I was talking to a friend recently, who is a psychologist,  it struck me that this is an issue that is growing in importance.

You see stress could be termed a form of mental illness…

High levels of stress for some people can cause physical illness and so can cause absenteeism.

But what can you do as an employer to reduce stress in the workplace?

In my experience stress levels are far lower in businesses where there is evidence of good leadership…

What do I mean by that?

Well firstly a team culture has been developed.

There is a good level of trust between the employees themselves and between employer and employees. This trust means that people are much more likely to communicate in a more open and honest way and so minor frustrations stay as just that. Where you can communicate honestly you can address frustrations and concerns straight away rather than leaving people worrying.

Those in senior positions also focus on rewarding and recognising a job well done.

Where an employee is made to feel good about their work then they are less likely to feel under pressure or stressed.

Finally the responsibilities and accountabilities of each employee match their strengths. By that I mean that they have the natural skill for doing those things.

When was the last time you felt stressed or challenged?

I will bet that it was when you were doing something that you don’t naturally enjoy.

There are some people who have a great skill for attention to detail…

Or those who have the ability to build relationships with people, or be a good networker…

Then there are those who have an entrepreneurial drive.

Whichever type of person you are, when you are doing that type of work will be when you are most ‘in flow’ or put another way when you are least stressed. But sometimes as a business owner it is possible to ask things of an employee that they just aren’t comfortable doing.

Sometimes even the top performers in an organisation can end up feeling stressed by their role.

So ask yourself….

Am I doing the most I can to help reduce the stress levels of my employees?

What small thing could I do today to support an employee who I suspect is feeling under pressure right now?

If you need any help with understanding your people then please ask, we would be delighted to help.