In National Stress Awareness Week, Investors in People released the news that one in three workers have considered leaving their jobs due to work-related stress. The same research showed around a third of employers not doing enough to support wellbeing at work.
Amidst today’s always-on, ultra-connected world, work-related stress has been on the rise for some time, with one wellbeing charity recently finding that 50% of workers are ‘close to breaking point’. To avoid this, organisational leaders need to look to new and evolving ways to help employees to reduce stress before motivation, performance, and productivity are negatively impacted. We need to treat the cause, not the symptoms of stress and anxiety, both in the workplace and in people’s wider lives.
But employers and HRs can’t help if they don’t know there is even an issue, so the first step to recognising an organisation’s problems is to have a real-time view of absence and leave trends within the workforce. Taken one stage further, many forward-thinking businesses are now recognising how absence management data integrated 24/7 virtual GP solutions can revolutionise the fight against employee stress. The key to all this, is to arm welfare teams with simple, easy to use tools – that allow them to proactively help employees at their times of need. This can significantly help the fight against employee stress.
Early intervention can provide all the difference by reducing the likelihood of longer-term damage by allowing employees to get professional help early on. Intelligent systems can mine HR data such as planned and unplanned absences to anticipate when workers may be exhibiting behaviour associated with stress, and alert that person’s manager. Also, if for example, the January blues are biting attendance, company leaders can make a proactive decision to enable people to work as flexibly as they like. If high performers haven’t taken any holiday for nine months, their manager can speak to them and advise a break in order to combat stress, promote wellbeing and in some cases, even prevent burn out.
Nowadays, we can easily see patterns that used to be hard to pick out and acting on them can really improve people’s resilience to stress. But it’s up to us as employers to ensure we extract the absence data to know when and how to act to optimise wellness (and happiness) in the workplace.
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