How real businesses tackle stress in the workplace

In response to Stress Awareness Month, PR and marketing manager Amy Macdonald speaks to some of our clients to find out how they tackle stress in the workplace.

Stress Awareness Month

As Holly pondered earlier this Stress Awareness Month, stress is a problem many professionals face and something we are unfortunately not strangers to, with the role of a PR professional falling within the top ten most stressful jobs in the UK.

As part of Stress Awareness Month we are looking at the implications of stress to inform, educate and inspire people. We have been speaking to some of our fantastic clients to get advice on how they manage stress in their workplaces and support the wellbeing of their people.

Estelle Morris, HR manager at Leonard Design Architects

“At Leonard Design we place huge importance on the health and wellbeing of our staff. We offer private health insurance which also includes subsidised gym membership, free counselling sessions, a 24-hour telephone support line as well as regular challenges such as a plank challenge, squat challenge and a weekly running club.

“As HR Manager and a qualified Pilates teacher I decided to introduce a weekly morning Pilates session for anyone who wanted to join. Pilates brings relief from stress and a sense of calmness. It is a gentle, non-aerobic form of exercise that doesn’t rely on sweating and pain!

“At Leonard Design we have an area of the office which we can use for Pilates – a quiet space to focus on breathing exercises and repeating of gentle but effective movements which bring peace to the busiest of days.”

Jennie Hennessey, communications manager at Willmott Dixon

“In the Midlands we deliver projects with values up to £40m, each with pressures on time, cost and quality. A few years ago, we were seeing the knock-on effect that stress was having on our people and we decided to make a change and support our people in managing stress and leading a more balanced life.

“We considered running, like so many businesses do, a ‘wellbeing week’ but it became strikingly obvious that this would have no lasting effect. While awareness weeks and months such as Stress Awareness Month are important, there needs to be a long-term commitment made by a business to these kinds of initiatives.

“In partnership with a local business specialising in fitness, nutrition and lifestyle coaching, we worked to develop a pilot programme designed around individuals with the goal of building resilience. Using the data from our pilot we worked to develop our Life Balance Programme – our bespoke health, wellbeing and performance programme specifically designed to improve lives. It sits alongside our existing initiatives for supporting our people.

“Not only is the Life Balance Programme invaluable for our people, but it has also created a new way for us to engage with our customers. On recent projects such as the University of Warwick Sports Hub, we have been able to extend our programme to our customers, providing them with added value beyond bricks and mortar. Similarly, we are just about to put a number of our supply chain partners through the programme too, demonstrating the importance of wellbeing in our customers and partners.”

Holly Bolus, marketing manager at CANNA

“The CANNA offices are filled with a positive fun family vibe! Music blares out our office speaker, the kettle is always ready with a tea round on the go and you’ll often find dogs running around the office. Whether we’re sat at our desks, relaxed on our branded deck chairs or giant branded beanbags or taking a moment on the balcony to enjoy the beautiful woodlands we are set in. The team makes the most of our promotional items, score competitions are run on the arcade machine and bikes are ridden around the office! If we know the weather will be good, everyone joins in so we can have a staff BBQ to keep the positive mood up.”

Alongside sparking conversations around stress with our clients and each other, throughout Stress Awareness Month we have also been investigating ways in which to combat stress from your smartphone. Check back here at the end of the month to hear more about the tools our team have been testing.

By Amy Macdonald

Amy is a specialist in marketing and PR, she works to enhance a business' brand through strategy-planning and tone of voice . Amy has delivered a range of PR campaigns across a number of sectors including: property, construction, leisure, retail, charity and the arts.