HOW WE HELP TACKLE STRESS AT WORK

We’ve all felt stressed at some point in our working lives. For some, it passes as a deadline is met but for a growing number of people, stress is constantly present. Help your employees to flourish by being aware of the indicators of stress and implementing measures to limit the impact of stress on your staff and on your business. Read on to find out about the key indicators of stress and what we do at AgileCadence to prevent, alleviate and tackle stress at work.

 

What is stress?

So what exactly is stress? The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines stress as ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them’.

Stress is a feeling of being under abnormal pressure. This pressure can come from different aspects of your day to day life. Such as an increased workload, a transitional period, an argument you have with your family or new and existing financial worries. Stress can have a cumulative effect, with each stressor building on top of one another.

 

Signs of stress…

Everyone experiences stress and everyone deals with it differently. Some thrive on a bit of pressure but if stress starts to affect your health and well-being it’s time to tackle it. If any of your team show signs of  stress then it’s time to have a conversation with them to see what you can do help. Look out for:

  • taking more time off than usual
  • often late for work
  • shows a loss of motivation, commitment and confidence
  • has increased emotional reactions – being more tearful, sensitive or aggressive

 

Remember that there are many signs of stress, as listed on the Mental Health Foundation’s website, including:

  • feelings of constant worry or anxiety
  • feelings of being overwhelmed
  • difficulty concentrating
  • mood swings or changes in your mood
  • irritability or having a short temper
  • difficulty relaxing
  • depression
  • low self-esteem
  • eating more or less than usual
  • changes in your sleeping habits
  • using alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs to relax
  • aches and pains, particularly muscle tension
  • feelings of nausea or dizziness

 

What we do to help tackle stress at work…

Employers have a legal duty to protect employees from stress at work by doing a risk assessment and acting on it. At AgileCadence we believe that healthy, happy staff make for productive, successful individuals and we’re always looking for ways to limit stress. Here are some of the things that we do to help support our team:

 

Daily Catch-Ups

Every morning we have a team call or scrum. It’s limited very strictly to 15 minutes and the entire team, across the world (sometimes with the exception of the guys in New Zealand who are usually fast asleep) catch up and share their plan for the day and bring up any problems they’re having. It’s an opportunity to raise concerns over deadlines and workloads and keep everyone in the loop. It means that problems can often be dealt with before they escalate.

 

Exercise

We are very aware of the benefits of exercise for both our physical and mental health. We also know that many of our team have young families combined with heavy workloads, which can make it difficult to prioritise exercise. That’s why we make exercise part of our company culture. We plan walking meetings, we schedule lunchtime runs, we enter team events, and we even have a turbo trainer set up in the office. Anyone who wants to can also take part in the monthly Strava leaderboard, and help raise money for charity by logging their exercise.

 

Down time

Every Friday at 5pm we have a Welcome the Weekend half hour. All our staff, worldwide, down tools and we all hook up on a conference call. There are drinks and snacks available and the idea is that we have a chat about how the week has gone and what our plans are for the weekend. It’s half an hour to wind down before the weekend begins. It’s an opportunity to talk about anything and everything. To get to know each other a little bit better and to raise any issues before the weekend starts.

 

What you can do…

Make sure you’re aware of the signs of stress and that you take preventative action to ensure you’re dealing with anything that can cause stress. There are lots of resources available online including the HSE website.

 

There are lots of other ways to help tackle stress at work and employees can help look after their own stress levels – if you think you have a problem talk to your manager, a colleague or your GP.