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HR adviser Claire Moore, from Lovewell Blake in Bury St Edmunds, has five top tips to help staff avoid burn out

We all encounter stress in our daily lives, but continual high levels of stress can lead employees to feeling exhausted and burnt out.

An employee’s engagement, performance and mood can be substantially impacted when experiencing ongoing stress in the workplace.

Equally worrying for businesses is the fact that high stress levels in the workplace can also lead to lengthy periods of sickness absence and could negatively impact the retention of staff members.

Claire Moore, HR adviser at Lovewell Blake
Claire Moore, HR adviser at Lovewell Blake

So for November, which is Stress Awareness Month, here are five top tips for employers to help their teams avoid experiencing burnout.

1. Ensure staff are taking breaks

Managers should encourage their team members to take breaks and remind them of the importance of these breathers. When workload is high it can be tempting to work through times when you are supposed to be taking time out (such as lunchtime); however taking a break away from work is proven to improve productivity subsequently. Ensure managers lead by example by not only encouraging team members to take breaks, but by making sure they take them as well.

2. Work planning

Speak to team members about their workload and upcoming deadlines on a regular basis and ensure you consider this information in relation to task allocation and resourcing. Make sure that your appraisal process allows for conversations which a promote a two-way flow of feedback, and listen out for any suggestions or concerns employees might raise about work factors which may be causing them stress.

3. Encourage staff to take holiday

Managers and employers should look to encourage staff to be booking holiday to help avoid burnout. When staff are busy, they may feel deterred from booking time off, but it is essential they take time for rest and relaxation. It is a good idea to check regularly throughout the holiday year to identify anyone who may have a high percentage of their holiday entitlement left to take. Actively embark in conversations regarding booking holiday and the benefits this has on their wellbeing.

4. Train team leaders/managers

Ensure your managers are trained to spot the signs of stress and to help reduce stress within their teams. Mental health training will help them to recognise when a staff member may need support and what they can do to help them. Investing in the training of people managers can improve the overall wellbeing of your team and also shows your organisation’s commitment to supporting employee mental health.

5. Signpost to support

Aim to create a working environment where workers feel able to speak about any concerns they may have. It may be that you look to implement a wellbeing or mental health policy so workers know how to get support should they need it. Look to provide information signposting staff to where they can access support, such as their GP or NHS wellbeing services.

Lovewell Blake
Lovewell Blake

Lovewell Blake’s HR consultancy team offers employers assistance with managing workers and their health and wellbeing, including drafting policies or training line managers. For more details, visit www.lovewell-blake.co.uk/services/outsourcing-and-hr/hr-consultancy

Claire Moore is HR adviser at Lovewell Blake