Combatting Stress in the Workplace

How often do you feel stressed at work? If the answer is a lot, then you are not alone.


In today’s fast-paced world, where the boundaries that separate our work-life balance continue to be distorted, almost three quarters of people surveyed by the Mental Health Organisation have at some point felt so stressed that they have felt unable to cope.


And unfortunately, this comes as no surprise. Stress and burnout come as a direct result of the switched-on mentality so many of us have adopted since the advent of technology. The modern-day workforce has somehow been programmed to overwork by default, choosing to ignore fed flag signals of feeling overwhelmed, irritable and depressed: some of the most common signs of acute stress.


Instead we favour high performance at work, pushing ourselves to the limit despite the myriad of contributing factors that could be impacting on your week. For example, you could be working 40 hours per week with a round-trip commute of 120 minutes. This is exhausting enough: but factor in some bad weather, a couple of delayed trains and a few sleepless nights and that’s a direct route to stress and burnout. Especially if delayed trains cause you to stay later at work because you want to demonstrate presenteeism, even though the situation was way beyond your control.


According to a study by CIPD, evidence of overwork is the highest in full-time employees, with 41% reporting that they feel overworked. And yet still, flexible working continues to be an issue for so many organisations, even though it could have a huge impact on reported stress levels from employees.


In addition, stress at work continues to be a taboo subject. According to a study by the Mental Health Foundation, only 14% of people feel comfortable speaking to their manager about stress due to fear of being laid off. This makes them less inclined to negotiate a flexible working agreement – even though flextime has improved the quality of life in 78% of employees, according to the same CIPD study.


That’s why now more than ever it is crucial for managers to be able to recognise the signs of stress in their employees before it leads to a bigger problem, both for the individual and your team. And it all comes down to emotional intelligence.


Emotional intelligence means that managers are able to spot that an employee may be struggling, listen attentively and work together to set up a support system for the individual. This could be flexible working hours or weekly well-being catch-ups. The benefits of this are undeniable.


At Avencia, we can help. We hold regular workshops designed for HR professionals, where we cover everything from emotional intelligence and situational leadership styles to how to engage talent through career development talks. 


Sound like something you’d be interested in? Then give us a call today on +44 (0) 203 861 9360, or email us at