reducing workplace stress

Maintaining good mental health can be challenging for everyone. Workplace stress is often one of the main issues and can be caused by a variety of factors. These could include:

  • Unmanageable workloads
  • Difficult relationships or friction with colleagues
  • Lack of work-life balance
  • Threat of redundancy or worries about job security
  • Daily overwhelm
  • Lack of communication
  • Expectations to go above and beyond without recognition or reward


With so many people affected by stress every year, workplace stress can also negatively impact a company’s productivity, team morale and staff turnover, resulting in poor performance and an unhappy workforce.

The best place to start is by asking your employees what support they would like and what they need from you as an employer. When it comes to mental health, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ policy, so it’s essential to ensure you have the right foundations to best support your team. Here are top five ways to help reduce stress in the workplace.

1 Support a good work-life balance

Employees feeling overworked, underappreciated and unable to enjoy their free time is guaranteed to lead to stress. It can also set the ball rolling for a high turnover of unhappy staff. You could start by putting flexible working policies in place. Companies might look at offering things like hybrid home working, flexitime or 9-day fortnights to show staff that you have confidence and trust in them to get the job done. Be sure to encourage staff to use their annual leave allowance and enjoy their time off by switching off their work phones and refraining from checking emails.

Developing wellness initiatives as a business can also help to support a good work-life balance. Exercise and being outside in nature can reduce stress and improve mental and physical wellbeing. Your team might look to set up social groups to encourage staff to get outside for lunchtime walks, take part in steps challenges, join exercise classes or meet up for local hikes on weekends.

2 Champion mental health

Although some people are happy to talk openly about their mental health struggles and challenges, others find it difficult, especially around colleagues and managers. Some ways you can get round this could include:

  • Offer training for those interested in becoming Mental Health First Aiders and Champions.
  • Communicate that people are available for informal, confidential chats for anyone struggling or looking for advice.
  • Add mental health days to your sick leave policy
  • Remind staff that looking after themselves mentally is just as important as physical wellbeing.

Dan’s Personal Message on Mental Health

3 Positive Management Culture

Creating a positive culture often boils down to common sense. Managers who take time to ask their staff how they are feeling and what they’ve been up to outside of work, build trust quicker than those who don’t. It’s these small steps that helps to prevent and manage stress at work.

Other ways your business can build trust and create a positive culture within the team is to:

  • Be transparent, open, and honest with staff; this creates a conducive working environment for sharing and asking for help.
  • Make yourself available with an open-door policy so that staff know that they can come to you if they need to talk.
  • Support managers to build good relationships with their teams to ensure all staff feel heard and valued.
  • No two people are the same, so ask for feedback about the support you’re providing and treat people how they want to be treated.
  • Create opportunities for coaching, learning and development to support your team in reaching their personal and professional goals.

Alleviating workplace pressures will help your staff stay in the comfort and stretch areas of stress. The graph below shows just how much impact pressure has on your staff’s performance.

reducing stress in the workplace

4 Establish the office as a pet-friendly zone

A recent study of over 6,000 participants by the University of York and the University of Lincoln found that pets help to reduce stress. Further research by Washington State University found that interacting with dogs enhances people’s ability to think, plan, memorise and concentrate. Great news for those of us who love our furry friends running around the office!

Our Director, Greg, regularly brings his black Labrador Piper into the office and advocates pet-friendly working environments. He said: “There are so many benefits to bringing pets into the workplace, especially dogs, and I like to think that Piper helps to boost morale and reduce stress within the team. Sometimes just stroking a pet is enough to calm someone’s anxiety and improve mental health, so I’m all for anything that helps our employees to feel better at work.”

reducing stress pet friendly

If allowing pets in the office isn’t something you can do all year round, consider taking part in ‘Bring Your Dog to Work Day’, which happens every year in June, to raise money for charity. That way, the whole team can still benefit from having our furry friends around, plus it’s all for a worthy cause. We’d say that’s a win-win for everyone!

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