Workplace well-being is a very real need that more and more companies realise they must invest in. Looking after employees is not just about physical well-being, keeping them free from hazards and workplace dangers, but maintaining their mental health too.
As a result, businesses are keen to invest in techniques, principles and methods that work and office massage can reduce stress. Thus, it is becoming a company ‘must-have’.
The context of workplace stress
Employers have a duty of care to their staff but this is not an isolationist policy. Employees themselves have responsibilities to look after themselves in work but, in terms of mental health, may not have been able to do so at work because the systems were not in place to support them.
Employers have realised that when staff wellbeing is undermined, key organisational needs are not being met. This can negatively impact on many aspects of running a successful business;
- Stressed employees are not as productive as when stress is at a level that is positive
- Errors and mistakes increase
- Conflict is not uncommon in an environment where stress is negative
- Sickness and absenteeism rates are high leading to loss of important work days and productivity
- The atmosphere is negative and ‘loaded’ – how can people be creative in such an atmosphere?
- Customer service can suffer too because employees see little point in going the ‘extra ‘
- High staff turnover is also not uncommon as people look for a better work environment
- Poor employer reputation can also make it difficult to attract the right people to a company
A decade ago, nearly half a million people who worked in the UK were experiencing some work-related stress at some level. While stress can be positive and a much-needed driving force, constantly working under stress, bombarded with a workload that is too much and too demanding, inevitably leads to people becoming ill.
And so companies and businesses of all sizes and across all sectors were advised to look at stress in four different ways;
- Stress prevention – like most things, prevention is better than cure and thus, companies who look at preventing an employee reaching crisis point is a wiser investment than simply creating a safety net. Office massage, therefore, is quickly becoming commonplace in companies across the UK as a recognised way of helping to prevent stress. It is just one tool in a kit of many different tools that a business can invest in.
- Identification of stress – recognising the signs of a stressed employee is better sooner, rather than later. For many businesses, this step represents a significant step change. Looking after the well-being of employees takes many different shapes and sizes including mentoring, supervision, coaching and other investments of time and people. With systems in place, the company itself can help people recognise stressful situations, as well as the employee themselves having an avenue of support open to them.
- Stress management – reducing stress is key to managing it and thus, this is a natural step on from identifying stressing factors on a workplace. There are some stressors that can be changed but there are others that may be ‘permanent’ or inherent to a role or sector. For example, posts within the National Health Service are seen as inherently stressful but, this does not mean that support and help should not be available. In fact, it means the very opposite – when a company realises that stress in indicative of their business, they need to ensure that they have robust means and facilities for support.
- Promote well-being – it is not the sole responsibility of a company to look after the emotional and physical health of its staff; it is an individual responsibility too. Employees are more likely to enjoy working for a company if they know that they are valued and prized by them. Encouraging staff to seek help for stress, without stigma, is important and key to any company who is serious about creating a work environment that manages stress.
Perks, Rewards and well-being
There are some, however, who still think that a pay rise and a thank you at Christmas is the way to deal with stress, extending gratitude to employees. It is far bigger than this.
Perks and rewards are all well and good but they can just mask the problem. Perks and rewards that are built on a firm foundation of employee well-being are, however, a very different matter.