Three Ways Managers Can Handle Workforce Stress

New data shows that workplace stress is at an all-time high, but managers can take practical steps to support their employees.

Cesar Carvalho

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In recent years, business leaders have become increasingly aware of the consequences of stress on employees. In a recent survey, nearly three-quarters (73%) of CEOs said their organization offered support to manage stress.

But even the best intentions don’t always lead to positive results. And a new global analysis conducted by Gallup has revealed that stress levels within the workforce have reached “an all-time high” – surpassing record highs of the previous year. Forty-four percent of workers surveyed said they had experienced a lot of stress during the previous workday. Most (60%) said they felt “emotionally detached” at work, and 19% were downright miserable. “Employee engagement and well-being remain very low, and this is holding back enormous potential for growth,” the survey found. In the United States, workers are among the most stressed in the world.

Like many executives, I have had to lead my own staff through particularly stressful times, particularly during the pandemic. And due to the nature of my work at Gympass, I am also constantly in contact with all kinds of companies to help them improve the well-being within their ranks. These experiences have shown me what works and what doesn’t. In this article, I offer three ways managers can make a difference when it comes to tackling stress and supporting employee well-being.

Take a holistic view

Offering meditation at work is fine, but that alone won’t do much to alleviate stress levels if the root causes aren’t addressed. In fact, making sure your insurance includes mental health coverage is another important part of incremental change, but it’s not enough on its own.

To combat stress, help employees improve their overall well-being. Research shows that physical exercise reduces stress and improves mental health. It is crucial to give employees the time and opportunity to engage in a wide variety of physical activities. It’s only when they find something they enjoy doing that they keep going. For some, it might be yoga classes; for others, it might mean joining a running club at the office, a kayaking team, or a softball league. Other employees might find that taking a walk outside each day provides the right form of exercise and recovery. (For me, it works every morning at 6am) Offering resources for people to discover the activities they love without pressure or judgment.

Another piece of the puzzle is financial well-being.

Michael A. Bynum