Managing stress in the workplace doesn’t need to be a major investment for businesses and one of the most effective ways to boost wellness it by training managers to spot rising stress issues before they become a business problem.
That’s one of the key findings to come out of a new report by insurance provider MetLife Employee Benefits.
According to the poll of over 200 Employee Benefit Consultants (EBCs), 71% of EBCs rated investing in stress management training for managers the most effective technique for tackling workplace stress. In fact, this approach was cited over other regularly used in the workplace, such as free access to healthcare and counselling sessions.
The second most effective approach, according to 67% of EBCs surveyed, was offering training to employees who were identified as creating stressful environments for their colleagues.
In addition, nearly three-quarters (74%) of EBCs said they believe wellness monitoring is a major concern for businesses over the next two years.
When it comes to employee health priorities for EBCs, 61% cited limits on working hours as a priority, while 60% said mental health issues and more working from home will be priorities for employers to address.
Over half of EBCs (55%) reported a rise in mental health issues at organisations they work with and 72% said employers need to understand more about the impact of stress and mental health in the workplace.
The good news is that the tide is turning
Nevertheless, the poll also suggests that employers are trying to do more to tackle mental health issues in the workplace, with 52% of EBCs saying there is growing momentum among employers to address mental health.
However, a major barrier, according to 69% of EBCs, is that there is no agreed best practice on how to tackle workplace stress.
Less than half (44%) of the EBCs surveyed said optional counselling sessions were effective at tackling mental health issues. Offering free access for staff to healthcare professionals was helpful for employees struggling with mental health issues, according to 59% of EBCs.
Interestingly, 50% of EBCs said that personal finance education and training in the workplace is effective in helping employees cut stress levels and be more productive at work. With that in mind, EBCs said they were becoming increasingly interested in developing such services.
Sadly, the stigma attached to mental health issues is still present today, with 66% of EBCs agreeing that employees remain very reluctant to discuss mental health issues at work. In fact, 55% said discussing stress and mental health in the workplace is career-limiting.
Speaking about the findings of the research, Adrian Matthews, employee benefits director at MetLife UK, said: “Tackling stress and wellness in the workplace does not need major investment as the most effective techniques identified by EBCs focus on individuals.”
Investing in stress management training for senior/line managers has been shown from research carried out with over 200 Employee Benefits Consultants to be the most effective technique for tackling workplace stress.
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