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We need a certain amount of stress to help us with daily life. Stress only becomes a problem when we find ourselves under constant pressure or too much stress, often referred to as chronic stress. Chronic stress can be devastating for our general physical and psychological health, particularly our heart. Below we explore the effects of prolonged workplace stress on the heart, the many things employers can do to help combat work-related stress and help their employees live a happier and healthy life.

Effects of workplace stress on the heart

A report in the Lancet medical journal collated thirteen European studies into the effects of work-related stress, which involved almost 200,000 research participants. The results showed that “job strain” was linked to a 23% increased risk of suffering a heart attack and coronary heart disease. In some roles, a high degree of workplace stress may be unavoidable. However, in many roles, we experience a high degree of unnecessary stress. Whether the former or the latter applies to your workplace, there are specific measures and practices you can put in place to reduce work-related stress for your staff.

Importance of regular health checks

Once you reach forty, in England, you should be invited for a health check every five years. However, people under 40 are still at risk of suffering from heart-related conditions from chronic stress. Also, many people feel they don’t have time to attend the GP for routine health checks. To help ensure staff have regular health checks, employers can provide these for all workers. Many companies arrange for appropriate medical professionals to come into the office. They offer a drop-in service where employees can pop in for a health check during the workday, saving employees the hassle of making a doctor’s appointment or taking time off work.

Regular health checks can help in the early prevention and intervention of cardiac problems that are related to workplace stress and practices. Workers who have cardiac issues or a high risk of developing them can be signposted to relevant health care services.

Provide training on stress management

Educating your staff in stress management and resilience equips them with the tools to increase their tolerance to stress, identify signs of stress and know how to manage stress levels. Investing in stress management training has benefits for individual employees and the organisation. Employees are less likely to suffer from stress-related conditions such as anxiety, depression, diabetes, and heart disease. They are happier and more productive in their roles. Healthy employees take less time off sick, and their increased productivity generates more significant outputs for the business, increasing profitability.

Workplace support

There are many ways that you can provide additional support to your employees. Workplace support can be provided by way of coaching, which gives employees the tools and knowledge to stay healthy and succeed or by mentoring employees who may be struggling with their workload. A counselling service can also help employees to deal with any work-related stress and anxiety.

Fitness initiatives and nutritional advice

Physical activity and healthy eating are known to be beneficial in helping to improve both physical and mental health. Providing access to fitness equipment, gym membership, and outdoor space can help to reduce stress levels. Offering nutritional advice and providing adequate staff breaks for meals can also help to increase wellbeing. When you eat well and have sufficient rest, the body is better able to deal with daily challenges.

Delphinium provides training and development for all members of staff, which helps to combat the effects of work-related stress. To learn more about our services, please do give us a call today.

Author: Gemma Rolstone | Published 17th May 2021