Completely eliminating the excess pressures associated with work is not always possible. For example, for many businesses, there are likely to be pinch points in the annual calendar when the pressure rises, or a sudden change in the working environment as prompted recently by the COVID-19 pandemic can be challenging and result in anxiety.
However, there are some practical ways that employers can help to alleviate stress and support their people in managing it better. To help you start that journey, we have curated our top tips across the five key pillars of wellbeing for managing stress and building a resilient team.
Mindfulness – the ability to be present in the moment and focus your attention – is a powerful tool in the battle against stress. Practised through techniques including meditation, it is known to ease anxiety, boost relaxation, and improve brain function.
Consider running mindfulness sessions for your employees, or deliver it straight into their hands, via a multitude of subscription-based apps.
The bombardment we face from digital communications – from both work and non-work sources – can be overwhelming; increasing stress levels, and blurring the lines between home and work life.
Encouraging your employees to ‘unplug’ for a set period of time during the week by switching off emails, alerts and ‘push’ notifications, and silencing phones, can create time for them to focus on tasks without distractions.
Get your people moving
Exercise is not just a great way to improve your physical health, it can do wonders for your mental health too. Encouraging your people to get moving during the workday can help them to produce mood-boosting endorphins and relax their bodies, reducing fatigue, improving concentration, and releasing tension.
You can support your employees to move more by creating a wide range of physical activity challenges – or perhaps by simply providing desk workout tips.
Our bodies were not designed for the sedentary nature of home or office-working. Poorly-equipped workstations can lead to pain from musculoskeletal disorders, adding stress to our bodies and inhibiting our ability to focus.
Ensure your staff have access to ergonomic chairs to avoid unnecessary health issues or consider providing equipment for home working to promote stand-up working.
Wealth benefits enhance health benefits
More employees than ever are concerned about their personal finances, adding to increased stress, distraction, and absenteeism. While many businesses support their employees with retirement savings, many may be failing to address the month-to-month financial concerns of their workforce.
Supporting your employees with their financial wellness can have a direct impact on their physical and emotional wellbeing. Implementing a financial wellbeing strategy can deliver financial education and build awareness of the financial support and benefits available to your people.
Create a company culture underpinned by clear and open communication. If employees feel overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed, but feel empowered to communicate it to their colleagues and managers, these issues are less likely to spiral into bigger problems.
Building employee resilience and making good mental health a part of your culture helps to remove taboos and encourages openness and acceptance – so consider training mental health first aiders and champions to promote mental health awareness within your business.
Encourage community and culture
Company culture can impact every aspect of a business, from recruiting talent to retaining a happy and connected workforce. There is no magic formula for creating a positive company culture, but providing employees with opportunities to connect and feel part of something bigger, as well as feel supported, can help to combat stress and feelings of isolation.
Companies will need to be more creative when it comes to building business communities and culture when staff are home-based. The right solution is different for every business, so before planning anything, ask your employees what it is that they actually want, and what will make a difference for them.
Aon’s Benefits and Trends survey 2020 highlighted just how much employee expectations are changing, with 97% of employers stating that their people want greater flexibility in their working hours, and now when juggling home-working and family life that need for flexibility is even more important.
Getting that approach to flexibility right has the potential to help to create a loyal, more engaged, motivated and diverse workforce. It is not hard to imagine that workforces who have had home-working suddenly available to them due to the COVID-19 pandemic might be reluctant to give up their newfound flexibility when life returns to the new normal.
Invest in technology
Ensuring your workforce has access to the technology they need can have an immediate impact on stress. Fast and reliable internet, and software that saves time and encourages collaboration, can help to improve productivity and build a happier more connected workforce.
Aon’s 2020 Benefits and Trends survey uncovered that 88% of employers said employees expect better awareness and handling of mental health issues. In a rapidly-changing economic landscape, and with the expectations of workforces continually shifting, it has never been more crucial to focus your efforts on the right benefits and strategies for your business.
Aon’s Health Solutions team can help you to design, implement, communicate, and administer benefits solutions that meet the needs of your business and people. Talk to our team of experts today to start curating solutions that align with your compensation philosophies and financial objectives.
Aon – working with the leaders of tomorrow to face the health challenges of today.