As we observe Stress Awareness Month 2023, it’s important to take stock of the issue and consider what can be done to support mental health in the workplace. Stress is a major concern for business owners and employees alike, with the potential to cause significant harm to both individuals and the bottom line.

Stress Awareness Month 2023

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched its Working Minds campaign to support Stress Awareness Month 2023. The campaign is focused on helping businesses identify and manage stress-related risks, and encouraging them to create supportive environments where employees can thrive.

So, what can business owners do to support their employees during Stress Awareness Month 2023? Here are some practical steps to consider:

  1. Start by raising awareness

The first step to addressing stress in the workplace is to ensure that everyone understands what it is, how it affects people, and what the risks are. Consider hosting a workshop or training session on stress awareness, or create an information pack that employees can refer to.

  1. Review your workplace policies

Take a look at your workplace policies and procedures to ensure that they support mental health and wellbeing. This might include policies around flexible working, sick leave, and employee assistance programs.

  1. Conduct a risk assessment

Identify any areas of the workplace or specific job roles that might be causing stress for employees, and consider what can be done to address those issues. This might include changes to workloads, better communication channels, or improved support networks.

  1. Encourage open communication

Ensure that employees feel comfortable talking about stress-related issues, and provide them with channels to do so. This might include one-on-one meetings with managers, confidential support services, or group discussions.

  1. Promote a healthy work-life balance

Help employees to achieve a healthy work-life balance by encouraging breaks, flexible working arrangements, and the use of annual leave. Encourage managers to model healthy behaviours and discourage overwork.

  1. Provide training and development opportunities

Invest in your employees by providing opportunities for training and development. This can help to build confidence, skills, and resilience, which can in turn reduce the risk of stress-related issues.

  1. Lead by example

As a Kent business owner or manager, it’s important to model the behaviours you want to see in your employees. Take care of your own mental health, prioritise work-life balance, and create a supportive work environment.

8. Provide an Employee Assistance Program

An employee assistance program (EAP) helps with your business’s duty of care. Most EAPs will provide a 24hr support line, and provide face to face counselling when required. It allows the business owners and managers to signpost employees to it, when a need is identified.

Stress in the workplace is a complex issue, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, by taking a proactive approach to mental health and wellbeing, business owners can create a culture of support and care that benefits everyone.

In summary, Stress Awareness Month 2023 is a reminder of the importance of prioritising mental health in the workplace. By raising awareness, reviewing workplace policies, conducting risk assessments, encouraging open communication, promoting work-life balance, providing training opportunities, and leading by example, business owners in Kent can create a supportive environment where employees can thrive. Do you have an employee off on long-term sick due to mental health? Are you interested in providing your staff with an EAP? Get in touch to discuss how we can support you.