Being a human is incredibly stressful with everything going on in the word right now. It doesn't matter if you're a key worker, on furlough or running a business, we're all feeling it. Employers in particular should be paying extra attention to recognising and mitigating stress in their employees.
Stress comes in many different forms, just like people. Some key things to watch out for in your staff which could indicate increased stress levels are:
Not taking breaks
Working late or coming in early
Isolation from colleagues
Alcohol or drug use
Tiredness or fatigue
Change in energy levels
How to prevent stress
The logical solution to stress is to fix the problem, right? But what about when the problem is a global pandemic? Stress can be caused by a number of factors, most of which are out of your control as an employer. You can't fix people's anxieties or personal circumstances for them, but you can provide them with access to support. You don't need a wellbeing strategy or expensive platform to achieve this.
Set up a group chat
Whether your team are furloughed or whether they are still working, this is a great way of maintaining communication with your team and showing up for them. It's also a good way of showing them they are all in the same boat. Start discussions, engage with your team and bring them closer together.
Don't stop one to ones
Sometimes, people don't want to talk in a group. Sometimes some one on one time with someone who understands you is all you need to relieve some stress or anxiety. Remember, one to ones aren't about you and what you're going through and you aren't required to provide solutions. A coaching approach to one to ones is usually more effective. This means you do nothing but ask questions: how are you? why do you think that is? What do you think you could do differently? What support do you need from me?
Have a network of professionals you can refer people to
Sometimes, people's stress is a little more complex than feeling uptight and needing to talk.
If you don't want to pay for a wellbeing initiative, it's useful for you to at least know who you can refer your team to if they have a problem. There are lots of local professionals who can support with things like managing anxiety, counselling and financial support. Equally, you can refer people to nationally recognised charities like Samaritans or Mind.
Don't forget to look after yourself
This is a biggy. If you are not looking after yourself, you cannot look after your team. Be sure to ask for help, lean on people in your network, and set time aside to chill out. I'm serious, book that shit in your diary. Block the time out and stick to it.
Stress isn't going anywhere
Unfortunately, much like the virus who must not be named, stress isn't going to disappear overnight. It's not new, and it will keep returning because of different issues, different circumstances and different people's responses. You can't stop it from happening, but you can help people manage it and come out the other side.
Stay safe and well