Reducing Stress in the Workplace

The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an annual international campaign to promote safe, healthy and decent work. It is held on 28 April and has been observed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) since 2003.

This year’s focus is on tackling work related stress. The demands of modern working life can place many pressures upon employees which cause stress. “Psychosocial” risks, such as increased competition, higher expectations on performance and longer working hours are contributing to the workplace becoming an ever more stressful environment.

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The economic costs of work related stress and mental illness disorders should not be underestimated:

  • In Europe, the annual cost of work related depression is €617 billion.
  • This includes €272 billion lost due to absenteeism and presenteeism
  • €242 billion due to reduced productivity
  • €63 billion in healthcare costs and €39 billion in disability payments

So it’s clear that less stressful working conditions would make for better workers.

What is stress?

Stress is an adverse reaction to excessive pressure or demands placed on people. Pressure is part and parcel of life and can help keep us motivated, but excessive pressure, or in ability to deal with pressure effectively can lead to stress. Unchecked for a lengthty period, stress can lead to ill health.

How people cope and deal with pressure can vary depending upon support networks, their living situation, and personal coping mechanisms.

By offering employees support and advice in the workplace, you can help them destress, whilst boosting productivity. A mentally healthy workforce is more likely to fulfill it’s potential, function well, make healthy choices, cope with pressure and enjoy work.

Ideas to enhance mental wellbeing in the workplace

  • Physical activity and Healthy Eating

Physical activity does not just benefit physical health but also promotes mental wellbeing and reduces stress. Exercise releases endorphins that trigger positivity and help control feelings of being stressed. Healthy eating promotes wellbeing and reduces obesity and other health problems.

To encourage your employees to improve their fitness and wellbeing, you could:

  • Encourage your staff to do a Vitality Health review online and get their Vitality age
  • Start a club, such as a running or cycling club, to get your staff active.
  • Offer healthy food options in canteens or vending machines
  • Encourage and motivate your staff to be healthy by offering incentives
  • Encourage and organise charity sports, fitness or healthy eating events
  • Organise regular Wellness days
  • Encourage Cycle to Work schemes
  • Offer discounted or free gym memberships

  • Relaxing Activities

Encouraging relaxing activities can help staff reduce stress. This could be organised classes such as yoga or meditation, or inviting specialists in to talk about how staff can self help through relaxation techniques that they can work into their daily schedules.

  • Mental Health Awareness

Mental health awareness training can help employees to be more aware of their own mental wellbeing, as well as those around them. This can help tackle the stigma surrounding mental illness and encourage a more positive working environment.

  • Skills Training for Management

It’s important for the leaders in your organisation to have the skills to help promote mental wellbeing in the workforce and understand the issues employees face.


At Health Rewards we can help you put your wellbeing strategy into place. We want to get your business healthy and active. With Vitality Health and Life you can support your staff wellbeing and encourage healthy lifestyle choice. Reduce the risk of illness by encouraging people to engage with their wellbeing by providing rewards and benefits for their healthy choices.

What can we offer your business?

  • Vitality members will receive discounts of up to 50% on various health screens with Vitality Partners including BMI Healthcare, Nuffield Health and Bluecrest. By visiting the Vitality Member Zone, filling in the online Health and finding out their Vitality Age, our customers are engaged with their health from minute one.
  • Discounted fitness trackers from partners such as Garmin, Fitbit and Polar
  • Discounted gym memberships at Virgin Active
  • Rewards for your Healthy choices, such as weekly cinema tickets, weekly Starbucks drinks, monthly iTunes voucher and discounts with our major partners such as British Airways, Eurostar, Evans Bikes, and Sweatshop.