The work-related stress of meeting deadlines, adapting to changes, all while remaining productive, can often affect employees. As an employer or leader, it’s important to recognise and effectively handle situations where team members are facing stress. Creating a supportive and understanding workplace culture not only enhances employee wellbeing but contributes to a more productive workforce. Here’s a guide on how to handle an employee off with work-related stress.
Recognise the Signs
This could be frequent absences, decreased productivity, changes in behaviour, or even physical symptoms like fatigue or headaches. Try and engage in open communication and be observant to identify these indicators.
Approach with Sensitivity
When discussing the employee’s stress-related absence, aim to approach the situation with empathy and understanding. Creating a safe space for them to express their concerns without fear of judgements is crucial. Make sure you listen to their experiences and validate their feelings.
Respect Privacy & Confidentiality
Maintaining confidentiality regarding the employee’s situation is imperative in building trust in your relationship. This way, they are more likely to share their feelings with you, knowing it will be handled discreetly.
Offer Support & Resources
It’s always useful to provide information about available resources such as counselling services or mental health support groups. Offering flexibility in work schedules or workloads can also help to alleviate stress on your end.
Develop a Return Plan
Work together with the employee to create a return-to-work plan that accommodates their needs. This plan should aim to outline gradual reintegration into tasks, setting realistic, achievable goals, as well as periodic check-ins to ensure they feel supported.
Foster a Healthy Work Environment
Examples of promoting a healthy mental health culture can look like: encouraging breaks and perhaps implementing stress management workshops. These are great to prioritise wellbeing and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Monitor Progress & Follow Up
Upon the employee’s return, make sure you regularly check in with them regarding their workload and support systems to see if any adjustments are needed to upkeep their wellbeing. These check-ins can prevent the stress from becoming unmanageable, too late.
Encourage employees to take part in their hobbies, exercise, and stress-relief activities. Emphasising the importance of doing the things they enjoy is a good way to maintain happiness and lower the chance of stress in the workplace.
Proactively addressing work-related stress in employees in essential in maintaining a more productive, healthy workforce. Implementing the above measures can help employers effectively manage and mitigate the impact of work-related stress on their team.