It’s National Stress Awareness Month in April, and it’s essential to focus on the global public health crisis that is work-related stress. Work stress continues to be a significant problem in Australia, with recent research showing that it has become even more prevalent in the last few years. According to recent surveys, over 70% of Australian employees have reported feeling stressed or overwhelmed at work, and 40% have taken time off work due to work-related stress*. The pandemic has exacerbated this issue, with remote work, increased workloads, and financial uncertainty adding to workers’ stress levels.
However, there is a glimmer of hope. Organisations can help their employees deal with stress by creating a work environment where individuals feel comfortable discussing their struggles without fear of stigma or negative consequences. When employees feel supported and heard, they are more likely to seek help when they need it and better able to manage their stress levels.
It’s essential to understand that not all stress is bad; in fact, some stress can be beneficial in motivating and challenging individuals. However, excessive stress can have adverse effects, leading to burnout and other physical and mental health issues.
“To prevent this, individuals need to manage their stress levels effectively. They can do this by incorporating stress-relieving activities such as exercise, mindfulness, and hobbies into their daily routines.” – Pull out quote
Employers have a significant role to play in reducing work-related stress by taking proactive steps to identify and manage workplace risks. This includes creating clear roles and responsibilities, ensuring fair workloads, promoting work-life balance, and providing access to mental health resources and support services.
Managers can also play a vital role in preventing and managing work stress by creating a supportive work environment and promoting positive workplace culture. They can do this by regularly checking in with their direct reports, providing them with the necessary resources and support, and empowering them to make decisions and take ownership of their work.
Even though work stress continues to be a significant problem in Australia, organisations can take proactive steps to mitigate its impact. By creating a supportive work environment, promoting stress management techniques, and providing access to mental health resources, employers can help their employees thrive both personally and professionally.
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