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Little by little, we can reduce workplace stress

11 April 2024

April is stress awareness month, and #LittleByLittle, we’re doing our bit to help businesses reduce workplace stress. While we’ll always say that stress can be a motivating force, prolonged periods of excessive stress levels can lead to severe problems. Read on to discover five ways to manage workplace stress, helping reduce absenteeism and increase employee engagement.

Understanding the risks of excessive workplace stress

Before we go on, it’s important to note that the workplace isn’t the only source of stress in an employee’s life. Personal circumstances are a significant cause, and your employees may be unable to leave them at home.

As an employer, you cannot solve everything that causes your employees’ stress levels to rise, but you can provide essential support that will help reduce stress.

The workplace is another matter, and you are legally obligated to monitor and manage workplace stress.

  • The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 puts a 'duty of care' on employers to protect their employees from the risk of stress at work (ACAS).
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 stipulates that employers make a 'suitable and sufficient assessment' of health and safety risks in the workplace, including stress.

Why wouldn’t you want to reduce stress?

Excessive workplace stress can reduce productivity, increase absenteeism, and lead to high employee turnover. Taking steps to manage and reduce it is essential.


1. Recognising the signs

Did you know there are five stages of stress your employees will go through before they reach burnout? 

Recognise the signs and help reduce workplace stress.

  • The Honeymoon Phase: This is where you might see the positive effects a little bit of stress can have. Where everything is going well, your employees are pushing themselves, thriving, and able to manage workplace stress. It sounds like a win for all, but the problem with this phase is when all the attention is on succeeding at work, there’s a risk that they may be suppressing personal worries. 
  • Stress Onset: This is where the Honeymoon Phase runs its course. Drive and energy levels reduce, while anxiety and stress increase.
  • Chronic Stress: At this point, stress is unmanageable, behaviour can turn aggressive, and self-care may be lacking.
  • Burnout: If an employee goes beyond chronic stress to the point of burnout, they’ll experience physical and mental symptoms.
  • Habitual Burnout: At this point, employees will need external support, and the road to recovery can be long.

Our Employers Guide to Recognising and Resolving Employee Burnout is a valuable resource and includes a burnout assessment. Download your free copy here.


Pluxee Burnout Guide


2. The role of recognition

In our blog - Reducing Stress by Increasing Recognition - we explore the role that reward recognition can play in reducing workplace stress.

There are many elements to this, including the extra stress that high levels of absenteeism and employee turnover have on the rest of the workforce, which you can explore more in the above blog.

Lack of acknowledgement = self-doubt + increased workplace stress

Recognise, reinforce, and reward. Never leave your employees wondering if they’ve done a good job or feeling undervalued. A ‘thank you’ costs nothing, and your reward and recognition strategy can also be cost-effective. 

Discover more in these blogs:

Our eVouchers are a sustainable, versatile, and inclusive way to reward your employees, and you can use our Pluxee Card as a reward, employee benefit, and incentive solution - all in one!


3. A focus on financial wellbeing

This April, MHFA England has teamed up with FinWELL Training Ltd and the R;pple Suicide Prevention Charity, creating the very first Financial Wellbeing Month. 

The fact that these particular organisations and charities have aligned reinforces what we’ve been saying for some time… financial wellbeing and mental health are intrinsically linked.  

Anxiety is a normal emotion in us all, but sometimes it can get out of control and become a mental health problem. (Mental Health Foundation

Debt becomes a cycle, with people borrowing more to pay off loans. It’s hardly surprising that half of adults with problem debt also have a mental health illness. Our Financial Wellbeing Guide contains all the information you need to alleviate financial stress in your organisation by providing employee benefits that make life more affordable and enjoyable.


Financial Wellbeing Guide


4. Enhancing mental resilience

Mentally resilient employees stand a better chance of beating stress than those struggling with their mental wellbeing.  

There are many ways to improve employee mental wellbeing, and we must never forget the link between mental and physical health.

Encouraging employees to prioritise their wellbeing is essential, and you can discover how to help them here: The importance of work-life balance & how employers can enhance it.

Enhancing mental resilience is important, but it’s still essential to reduce workplace stress. Even the strongest bridge can bend and break under too much pressure. So, too, can the most resilient employees. Ensure they always have a safe place to turn when they need professional and confidential support with an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).


5. Healthy body, healthy mind

Stress isn’t just something in our minds. It causes a physical reaction in our bodies, increasing our cortisol levels.

Stress raises the cortisol level in the body, triggering bodily changes that enable a person to react to the stressor. (Medical News Today)

When we’re highly stressed for an extended period, we’re at risk of more than burnout. Cortisol can affect nearly every organ in our body, and when too high for too long, it can cause significant health issues.

Exercise helps reduce stress and cortisol levels, and you can make regular exercise more affordable for your people.

Our Gym and Fitness Discounts give your employees up to 25% off annual memberships with the fitness brands you know and love!   

We offer discounts with over 3,000 gyms, studios, fitness centres, boot camps and sports clubs across the UK and the Republic of Ireland, and a vast range of digital fitness providers.

An inclusive way to reduce stress and encourage healthier lifestyles...

  • Nature lovers can enjoy discounts with boot camps and sports clubs.
  • Less confident employees and those short on time can access our vast range of digital fitness partners, giving them discounted subscriptions to online workout programmes with some of the biggest names and brands in the business. 

Join us in the fight against stress! #LittleByLittle, we can help reduce stress, creating happier, healthier, more present, and more productive employees. Arrange a call today to discover how partnering with Pluxee UK can help your people and business thrive. 





The Money Charity

Medical News Today