Many Companies and employers have realised the benefit of providing staff with access to counselling when they need a bit of extra help managing emotionally, either with work pressures or with events in their personal lives. This service is definitely beneficial for both staff and employers, but at what point does the employee get access to this service, they often have to admit to their boss that they are not coping, or it gets to a point where the boss or other staff members notice that their colleague is struggling.
As a therapist I often get clients who have reached the point where they are unable to cope, and are signed off sick with stress or anxiety. Some of these clients had the opportunity to access help through their workplace, but they would have had to ask for it. They didn’t ask because it is tough to admit you are not coping, and to all the many signs and symptoms that come with stress and anxiety. They often fear it will have a negative impact on the way their employers or colleagues view their capabilities, as they are likely to be questioning their own abilities as stress and anxiety bring a lack of focus, poor memory, mistakes and slower productivity. Consequently their confidence and self-esteem take a downturn and they spiral downwards into an even worse place, sometimes depression.
Some will have gone the medical path with symptoms of headaches, gastric problems, insomnia, palpitations and more, as we ourselves do not always recognise the wider symptoms of stress. Others were hoping each day would be a little better, until they hit a point of breakdown, often resulting in panic, tears and meltdown sometimes in front of their workmates.
So what are the implications of someone getting to this point?
One of the biggest implication is that work is now associated with all these awful physical and emotional feelings. Have you ever eaten or drunk something and been ill afterwards? The next time you see, smell, taste or even hear about that food, you are likely to get a very clear memory of that experience, by feeling unwell.
This is part of our survival mechanism as it protects us by creating an aversion to something that could be dangerous to our health, which is completely relevant when the perceived danger maybe poisonous. This unfortunately is the same mechanism that is likely to kick in relating to work. Logically we know work is not dangerous, but because of the strength of the emotional and physical impact of reaching that high level of stress, our brain sees it as something to be avoided at all cost.
So what is the answer?
It is important of course that the root cause of the problems are addressed, but how different could this scenario have been if there had been a programme of stress management or emotional education in place as part of all employees well-being?
When we have skills to recognise and manage stress we are more attuned to noticing the warning signs, as well as successfully intervening early on to ensure issues are addressed, before they have a big impact on our emotional or physical well-being. Beyond this, when all employees are taught skills in everyday calmness, confidence, positivity and emotional awareness then the working environment becomes not only more supportive and pleasurable, but more productive and efficient.
This has wide reaching benefits for the employers and employees, as in the same way the brain creates aversions to dangers, it creates desire for the positive. What would it do for your business if your employees felt happy and excited to go to work each day? What would it do for your employees to feel calm, confident and capable in the workplace?
Prevention is better than cure on all levels. If you would like to know more about workshops, emotional well-being training programmes or one to one care for your staff or workplace then please contact me Alexa Warner at www.positivitylifecoaching.co.uk/contact/