Managing Stress in the Workplace

October is Mental Health Month, and at Pryme we’ve been thinking about how stress in the workplace impacts on the mental health of our workers. Workplace stress is a major cause of mental health problems in the community, which is why we support organisations like Mates In Construction.

There are lots of different reasons why the simple act of going to work can cause prolonged stress and anxiety, and lead to the development of mental health problems. The good news is that there are practical measures you can put in place in your workplace, which will help you to better support your workers and their mental health and wellbeing.

Social support

One of the major causes of workplace stress in Australian construction and trade worksites is social isolation. That’s why it’s important to create an inclusive workplace, where all your workers cooperate, treat each other with respect, and refrain from discriminatory or bullying behaviour. Keeping your policies at hand for everyone to read will help support good workplace relations, as will regular inservices and check-ins to ensure your staff are competent, contributing, and compliant.

It’s also important to maintain effective communication. Communicating clearly will help your workers understand important responsibilities and duties: you’ll protect your business’s productivity, help your workers feel supported, and prevent safety hazards from emerging.

Sufficient training

Feeling out of your depth in your role and obligations is a major source of stress and anxiety in the workplace.

As an employer, it’s your obligation to ensure that all your staff have the skills they need to complete their jobs every day. This is necessary not only for your business’s safety and compliance with regulations governing your operations, but to support your workers’ mental health. Workers with decreased confidence in their ability to successfully perform the tasks in their role suffer from increased worrying and rumination, disrupted and poor sleep, diminished reaction times from anxiety and lack of rest, and low morale.

Ensuring your workers are comprehensively trained in their physical tasks, confident reporting hazards, and able to ask for help will allow you to support both their mental wellbeing and their professional performance.

Managing heavy workloads

You’re probably already aware of the huge impact labour shortages are having across Australia’s construction industries. Construction job vacancies have increased by a whopping 80% since 2019, and to make matters worse, the skills deficit is predicted to increase. With so many businesses running behind schedule and unable to meet demand, many workers are delivering massive volumes of work over unreasonably long hours, leading to significant strain on the workforce through fatigue, increased risk of errors and injuries, and poor work / life balances.

It’s never been more important to look after your workers’ physical and mental health. While you might already feel like you’re at breaking point in trying to stretch your operations to meet unreasonable demands, it’s imperative that you take care not to overburden your workers—particularly when they’re doing physically demanding work—so try to keep overtime to a minimum to avoid causing high rates of stress.

Safe working environments

There are many ways you can create positive work environments that reduce stress and promote good mental health among employees. They include:

  • Providing clear guidance on job roles, tasks, and obligations
  • Assisting employees to manage their workloads and deadlines
  • Encouraging employees to rest, maintain their health, and manage anxiety with access to services like physiotherapy and counselling
  • Recognising and awarding employee performance to promote a positive work environment
  • Treating employees with respect and encouraging them to engage in a supportive work culture

Making your workplace safer will go a long way, not only in reducing Australia’s rates of workplace injury, death, and health-related issues, but in promoting good mental health in our workers.

You can also visit Pryme’s website to view range of products and our 2022 catalogue for more ideas on how you can help you make your workplace a safer place, including:

  • Reducing workers’ exposure to ergonomic strain and drop accidents, with Ergodyne’s complete range of tethering equipment and PPE
  • Preventing dehydration and heat stress, with Sqwincher’s range of delicious and fast-acting rehydration solutions, and Ergodyne’s wearable cooling PPE
  • Protecting workers from damaging UV radiation, with Ergodyne’s shade solutions and Maxi Block’s environmentally friendly, specially formulated sunscreens and sunblocks

For more information or to order stock for summer, please contact our friendly team and we’ll be happy to help.

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