Stress Management in Tense Times: The Importance of Ongoing Training
The need for stress management training has only increased throughout a difficult year.
Any time is a good time to check in on employees and ensure they have the training and support they need to maintain a positive state of mind and strong mental health. Of course, during extra-stressful times, such as the global COVID-19 pandemic, this effort becomes especially important. If you haven’t been keeping a close eye on your company’s workforce lately, you may not realize just how heavily stress could be weighing on employees at every level.
Dealing with the unprecedented demands placed on people’s shoulders, often including huge changes in established work patterns and routines, is one of the most powerful stressors imaginable. Investing in training sessions to help workers cope with challenges facing them is a prudent decision, and one that can positively affect the bottom line. After all, it’s unreasonable to ask anyone to give 100% commitment to day-to-day tasks when they are dealing with unaddressed tension and stress.
Fortunately, there are many training programs that can impart valuable strategies for dealing with difficulties in work and life. Many of these are available in video-based online formats, ensuring that even when employees are contributing remotely, they can participate in these educational experiences.
What Does Stress Management Look Like in 2020?
Over the summer, Forbes contributor Bryan Robinson pointed out a number of alarming facts regarding the toll on workers in all roles and industries. It’s worth remembering that the threat associated with the COVID-19 pandemic takes many forms. First, there is the danger of becoming infected with the potentially deadly virus. Second, there is the strain of being isolated from coworkers, friends and people in general due to social distancing measures. Third, the fact that these dangers have dragged on for months has exerted its own negative influence on morale.
Indeed, one of the most worrisome and potentially harmful elements of pandemic-influenced stress has to do with the length of the crisis. As this unprecedented disruption began, companies were attentive to their employees’ needs, checking in often and providing resources. It has been difficult to maintain those standards, however, and communication has deteriorated. Robinson noted that as spring turned to summer, Gallup data on employees’ preparedness to do their work showed a worrying trend. People were feeling less able to complete their duties, and they became less sure that their employers had plans in place to deal with the impact of COVID-19 on the workforce.
Work stress has always been a factor. Now it is at its most acute level in recent memory.
How Should Leaders Help Their Teams?
The result of all this disconnect and doubt has been natural: Employees have become stressed, especially managers. This is worrisome, as managerial staff have an important role to play in keeping the rest of the workforce calm and engaged. Robinson urged companies to reestablish close bonds of communication with their employees. When workers feel at liberty to take time to relax and create a work-life balance, which is difficult when working remotely, they are better equipped to thrive in uncomfortable conditions.
The Harvard Business Review urged managers to be models of positive behavior for their workers, showing they are also practicing self-care to make this more acceptable for their team members. For instance, a manager who takes walks during the workday to relax or create a hard line between work and home life should share these strategies with employees on the team.
HBR also recommended that companies invest in training to prepare employees to deal with mental health issues, both in times of crisis and during everyday scenarios. In addition to simply setting up the classes, leaders can ensure there are no stigmas around receiving assistance with stress or motivation and peace of mind. Some organizations were already making moves in this direction before the pandemic began. Those that have not done so should make efforts to catch up now, protecting their employees from the mental attrition associated with difficult times.
What Types of Stress Management Training Are Available?
Fortunately, you have many options when selecting stress management courses for your employees. While reducing tension has become a topic of pressing importance over the past year, workers have struggled with the stressful aspects of their workplaces, home lives and the intersections of these settings for as long as work has existed. You can choose from a deep catalog of video-based online courses designed to reach employees at home, in the office or wherever they are based, focused on recognizing, managing and negating stress.
While the factors causing stress among the workforce are different today than at any time in the recent past, the symptoms and coping mechanisms are familiar. Tactics such as taking personal time and practicing mindfulness are always relevant, and can prove valuable to individual employees and entire organizations alike.
If your company’s workers are feeling unsettled or having a hard time with their duties right now, that’s only natural. Helping them cope through formalized training is a sensible response.