As mental wellbeing issues continue to skyrocket, work related stress and anxiety is at an all-time high in New Zealand. High workloads, poor work-life balance, and stressful work are the top three causes of poor mental health in the workplace which ultimately impacts on productivity.

When people do not switch off, they slow down.

As American author, businessman and educator, Stephen Covey, once wrote: “Some people keep on sawing because they want to get the job done. Others will stop and sharpen the saw if it’s blunt and end up finishing faster”.

Stressful working environments can have damaging long-term effects on both mental and physical well-being, with an increased risk of developing depression and anxiety, as well as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

We are running ourselves into the ground, and it’s our families, health and happiness that suffer, along with our businesses. Here are five things you can integrate into the workplace to make it less stressful for everyone:

  1. Research

To gauge how team members feel, and to find out what needs to be improved, a staff survey could be conducted. From this, you can train managers and supervisors to develop risk assessment tools, and ensure they can identify, understand, manage and support stressed workers.

  1. A tech ban after hours

Implementing a policy where emails cannot be sent after work hours, or to staff on any type of leave can be beneficial in helping all employees switch off. A real break is required, and overuse of devices and the inability to switch off has been blamed for widespread burnout and sleeplessness among employees.

  1. Start the day off right

After crawling out of bed, sculling two cups of coffee, battling with the kids’ breakfast and a hearty bout of road rage, people are probably already stressed by the time they even get to work. By encouraging starting the day off with good nutrition, organisation and a positive outlook, workers can be less stressed and reactive.

  1. Good relationships

Developing and nurturing good relationships with team members can ease workplace stress. It’s good to chat, and it’s good to come across approachable to workers so they can let you know if they’re feeling stressed. As well as this, encouraging employees to take their breaks on time can help ease pressure and long work hours.

5. Be realistic and don’t ask too much

Setting achievable workloads and deadlines for your workers in relation to agreed hours of work, skills and abilities can avoid employees feeling under the pump, anxious and stressed out.

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