The UK kicks off International Stress Awareness Week today, with companies and organisations being urged to seek ways to improve resilience and allow employees to thrive in the workplace.

The annual event has been organised by the charity International Stress Management Association (ISMA), which promotes knowledge and best practice in stress management.

The theme for this year is “Resilience: the power to succeed!” with a full week of events, workshops and presentations planned, culminating in ISMA’s annual conference on Friday in London.

At the heart of the initiative is the mission to persuade more people to consider the importance of resilience in both their work and personal lives – and the need to cultivate the power to bounce back from daily challenges. 

The Awareness Week also provides an opportunity for ISMA members to reach out to businesses and individuals in their local area and showcase their skills.

Such intervention has been welcomed by business leaders, especially in the wake of results from the Mental Health Foundation’s study for 2018. This online poll undertaken by YouGov – with a sample size of 4619 respondents, the largest known study of stress levels in the UK – revealed 74% of people have felt so stressed they’ve been overwhelmed or unable to cope.

It also suggested 51% of adults who felt stressed reported feeling depressed and 61% reported feeling anxious.

In the wake of recent news reports, we now know even the royals can feel stressed at work. Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex have spoken candidly about having

to deal with the immense stress of engaging with the media every day as part of their public engagements.

Thankfully, as the Awareness Week highlights, there are ways to help reduce stress and build resilience in the workplace.

On a corporate level there is much that can be done. Personnel such as HR professionals are at the heart of helping staff enjoy a workplace environment that’s as stress-free as possible.

Often this means creating an ‘open door’ culture that enables staff members to discuss any professional or personal concerns they may have with an HR assistant or manager. This is done frankly and openly yet in complete confidence and without fear of any negative career consequences.

Executives and managers can also be encouraged to listen more carefully to their employees’ input and observations. This way there is a mechanism to understand what’s on employees’ minds and where stress points might exist and need to be tackled.

HR can also be proactive in reducing stress and building resilience by proposing changes to the workplace. This can mean more flexible working hours, proper lunch and work breaks, bonus schemes for high achievers and upskilling and training for those who may be struggling to reach goals.

Of course, feeling contented at work is a great stress reliever. That’s why ensuring staff have a sense of purpose is important too. With every working day bringing fresh challenges, the ultimate feeling of fulfillment builds resilience and instills happiness.

The drive to de-stress and thrive also works on a purely personal level. From science and social care to accountancy and customer service, no matter which sector you work in, it pays to see the bigger picture.

In practice this means having a clear goal of what you’d like to have achieved at the end of your shift. This will encourage you to view each day as another stepping stone in a great career journey – without stressing about having to achieve the final destination in a single day.

Equally, it’s important to understand not every day at work will be perfect. Accepting that you can’t always solve everything takes a lot of weight off of your shoulders.

If today’s been a bad day at the office (or factory, building site or contact centre), focus on making tomorrow better.

Remember, too, that what worked last week might not this week. Assess what strategies are bringing success and those that should be revised and refreshed.

Where there are potential stress points, work with HR or your manager to create a less rigid timeframe for results – this will allow you the breathing space to make up for life’s temporary setbacks.

If you’d like to explore opportunities to enjoy a stress-free environment where you can focus on an enjoyable career, why not look at the huge variety of job sectors and top roles on x1jobs?