Following this years, 16th National Stress Awareness Day, it was great that the Annual CIPD conference held a sessions focused on The Science of Happiness and how we feel at the workplace.
Our emotions have a direct impact on our brain, abilities, health, confidence and even our levels of success. It is paramount that HR can understand and apply behavioural science to create a more successful workforce. Teams and organisations need to be motivated and inspired and science can help you do that.
International Stress Management Association (ISMA), helps raise awareness of the numerous solutions that are available to achieve balance in terms of work, play and lifestyle. Research from the ISMA revealed that workplace stress is an issue that continues to challenge businesses. Stress is a serious problem for businesses and the economy. Happiness, success and achievement go hand in hand!
Recent research suggests that as technology improves, the nation is contactable 24/7. A normal working day no longer ends when we leave the office and some take their smartphones and holiday and check emails. It therefore becomes essential to manage this technological change in a positive way. achieving a balance which is necessary for good, health, positive performance and psychological wellbeing.
According ISMA, Health, social work, education and public administration are the sectors most affected by stress and a Flux Report from of Right Management Workplace Wellness found that 46% of HR Directors reported an increase in employee fatigue and disengagement. Furthermore, One in four women are stressed trying to juggle work with family life, according to herbal stress remedy firm Kalms.
Furthermore, in a survey carried out by the Office for National Statistics in the year 2000, twenty-nine per cent of British adults reported sleep problems and nineteen per cent complained of feeling worried. Ten per cent said they were depressed.
However, only 27% of UK workers said they would feel comfortable with the idea of taking a day off work and telling their boss that it was for stress-related reasons. 71% think that stress should be talked about more, but 33% said that when they feel stressed, they don’t like to share their worries with anyone.
Commenting on the findings, Jonathan Warren, director at Time4Sleep said: “There is definitely still a stigma surrounding stress as a ‘weakness’, making people reluctant to admit to others when they’re struggling.”
Jill Miller, research adviser at the CIPD, says: “Research shows it is prolonged exposure to unmanageable pressure that causes anxiety, depression and associated physical problems, such as headaches. But these illnesses are usually caused by a combination of work- and non-work-related problems. So the pressure of change at work and longer hours may be exacerbated by financial pressures at home, for example.”
Jayne Carrington, Managing Director of Right Management Workplace Wellness said: “This National Stress Awareness Day, we’re encouraging employees to think about ways that they can deal with stress in the workplace and offer the following advice to individuals looking to effectively manage their stress levels at work.
“Think objectively about your reaction to stress, separate challenges into what you can and can’t control, set manageable goals and stick to them, learn how to think positive, learn how to communicate under pressure, and learn how to manage your time.”
It is now more important than ever for HR to tackle stress and well-being at the workplace. Understanding of the human brain means that we now have the tools to tackle how people feel at work. HR can now create positive outcomes and genuinely make us happier and more productive.
Jonny Gifford, Research Adviser at the CIPD said: “Our understanding of the human brain has come on in leaps and bounds. But the way we manage, motivate and develop people at work isn’t keeping pace with these exciting advances. There is clear evidence that behavioural science can be applied at work to achieve positive outcomes for both individuals and the organisation. This isn’t about ‘Jedi mind tricks’ or duping; science can genuinely make us happier and more productive. It’s about understanding what drives performance and human behaviour, what makes us tick, how we respond to threat and reward and how existing HR processes and policies may actually undermine professional ethics and create unwanted outcomes.”