How to tackle workplace stress

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Training managers to spot rising stress issues in the workplace before they become a business problem has the most impact on improving wellness, new research from MetLife Employee Benefits shows.

Its exclusive study found 71 per cent of Employee Benefits Consultants (EBCs) rated investing in stress management training for managers the most effective technique for tackling workplace stress, over regularly used approaches such as free access to healthcare and counselling sessions.

Offering training to employees, identified as creating stressful environments for colleagues, was the second most effective approach, rated by 67 per cent of EBCs. The study for MetLife, which is the UK’s third largest Group Life and fourth largest Group Income provider , found nearly three out of four (74 per cent) of EBCs believe wellness monitoring is a major concern for businesses over the next two years.

Major employee health priorities for EBCs include limits on working hours identified by 61 per cent while 60 per cent said mental health issues and increased working from home will be priorities for employers to address.

More than half of EBCs (55 per cent) reported a rise in mental health issues at organisations they work with and 72 per cent believe employers need to understand more about the impact of stress and mental health at work.

There are signs the tide is turning – 52 per cent of EBCs believe there is growing momentum among employers to address mental health. But a major barrier is that 69 per cent of EBCs say there is no agreed best practice on how to tackle stress. 

MetLife’s Group Income Protection includes a Wellbeing Hub offering confidential health and wellness services and tailored data insight reports to help pinpoint potential risks and issues with employee health and wellness. Line managers can access dedicated support to enable them to address day-to-day workplace challenges.  

 Adrian Matthews, Employee Benefits Director, 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.

“Training managers to be able to address stress issues before they become a problem and helping individuals whose behaviour can cause stress are relatively simple initiatives which can make a major contribution to addressing wellness at work.

“It is encouraging that EBCs believe that momentum is building to address mental health at work but without agreement on best practice to tackle the issue making progress may be difficult.”

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