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April 2023, stress awareness month

In many organisations, hybrid working patterns have become the norm and therefore with the reduced contact time, leaders need to rethink how they stay engaged and remain aware of their employee’s well-being.

In many organisations, hybrid working patterns have become the norm and therefore with the reduced contact time, leaders need to rethink how they stay engaged and remain aware of their employee’s well-being. Work-life balance 10 years ago just wasn't a consideration, but post-covid it’s far higher on people's agenda. April is stress awareness month so we wanted to offer some strategies and practical solutions that can help you support your employee’s mental health. Let’s look at some tips from the Charisma team and the steps we have taken to support the well-being of our staff.

Responsibility for wellbeing

There is a corporate responsibility to look after employees and larger companies may choose to implement ISO 45001 to give them a framework for managing occupational health. Smaller organisations could use elements of this or develop their own policies to manage stress and wellness in the workplace utilising resources such as those published by charities such as Mind.

Attracting talent with employee benefits

We know organisations that demonstrate a clear focus on wellness and benefits are more desirable for our candidates. Whilst small charities can't compete with the bigger ones on salary, they can offer EAPs such as dental or health cover that show they are people-centred.

Here are some practical steps you can take:

  • Ensure your leaders practice empathy and understanding and recognise warning signs from colleagues in distress.

  • Check in regularly – hybrid work has lessened human connection. Office-based work led to more informal conversations and non-verbal signs such as body language giving us a better understanding of how our teams and colleagues were feeling.

  • Block out diary time for regular check-ins on the phone with your team members individually and don’t make it about work. Make it a ‘catch-up call’, about what’s going on with them, just like you’d chat over lunch or at the water cooler.

  • Keep the workday at work. The ability to be connected 24/7 through technology means that many employees never actually ‘switch off’. 57% of people check their emails in bed and 79% when they’re on holiday. Ensure your people know that they are not expected to be constantly available and that their ‘free time’ is important and to be protected.

“Encourage your team to take their paid time off. We all know the value of time off when feeling stressed and overworked. Holidays can give us the rest we need, and the headspace required to deal with worries and overwhelm.” Sandra Smith, Associate Director

How we look after our team

It's been a year since our MD Adam Stacey took over Charisma and one of his first actions was to look at wellness and improve the benefits for the team. Building on the pension and annual leave that was available, the revised package includes:

  • Quarterly team bonus

  • 3 x salary death in service insurance

  • Employee assistance programme

  • 35-hour working week – Adam reduced this from 37.5 hours and ensured the scope for flexible working

  • Work from-home contracts with twice-monthly team meetings

  • Christmas closure - bonus time off on top of your annual leave

  • 2 x Wellness/volunteer days

Whilst we have offered some tips for building wellness into your policies, the most powerful way to manage stress is to ensure there are multiple opportunities to communicate and your workplace is a psychologically safe space for your team.

Here are some tips for managing stress at work

For individuals, managing stress at work is really important. We've thought about some of the things that we find helfpul here at Charisma:

  • Set realistic goals and expectations.

    Don't try to do too much at once. Break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones.

  • Take breaks throughout the day.

    Get up and move around every 20-30 minutes. Step outside for some fresh air, or take a walk around the block.

  • Delegate tasks.

    Don't be afraid to ask for help from your colleagues.

  • Learn to say no.

    Don't overextend yourself. If you have too much on your plate, it's okay to say no to new requests.

  • Take care of yourself.

    Get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly. These things can help you manage stress and improve your overall health.

  • Find healthy ways to relax.

    Do things that you enjoy, such as reading, listening to music, or spending time with loved ones.

  • Seek professional help if needed.

    If you are struggling to manage stress on your own, don't hesitate to seek professional help.

Managing stress at work is important for your physical and mental health. By following these tips, you can reduce stress and improve your overall well-being. For employers, it's important to create a workplace culture that allows individuals to manage their mental health positively whilst delivering impact in their roles.

Adam Stacey
Managing Director
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