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Stress Prevention Tips for the Workplace

“One of the best ways to control stress is to accept the things you cannot control.”

M. P. Nearly

Work-related stress

The stats are clear, Britons are highly stressed, with chronic stress being linked to both the workplace (work-related stress) and relationships. The Executive Summary of HSE Workplace Stress Anxiety and Depression Statistics 2023 states that: “According to the Labour Force Survey (LFS) data, an estimated 875,000 workers experienced work-related stress, depression, or anxiety in the year 2022/23. This represents a prevalence rate of 2,590 per 100,000 workers (Source: LFS, annual estimate, 2022/23).” The article continues: “The total number of working days lost due to these conditions in 2022/23 was 17.1 million days. This equates to an average of 19.6 days lost per case.”

Work-related stress doesn’t just impact those working in the health/social care, education, and defence sectors, but professionals such as CEOs,executives, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and real estate developers. According to the 2024 Burnout Report conducted by Mental Health UK: “One in five workers (20%) in the UK needed to take time off work in the past year due to poor mental health caused by pressure or stress.”

Interestingly, the 2024 Burnout Report case study revealed that working from an office(for many this means having zero control over their working environment) had contributed to severe stress and burnout: “Half of UK adults in employment (50%) work from a fixed location such as an office, while just over a quarter (26%) have a “hybrid” or “agile” working arrangement, with 12% working from home, and 9% based away from home but at various locations.” The paper continues: “Working arrangements also affected people’s experiences of burnout at work, with 25% of those working from a fixed location (i.e., based at the same office/working location) citing this as a contributing factor, compared with 19% of field-based workers, 16% of home workers and just 14% of hybrid or agile workers.”

Let’s explore the symptoms of work-related stress:

  • An increase in sick days
  • Mood swings and aggression
  • Inability to take initiative or feeling ‘stuck’
  • Emotional and physical exhaustion
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Suicidal ideation
  • A noticeable drop in work performance
  • A considerably lower threshold for otherwise minor irritations at the office
  • Apathy towards one’s work

The right kind of environment for employees

A continuous theme among professionals who have experienced burnout and/work-related stress, is a deep resentment around the lack of autonomy, and this includes the physical space in which an individual is stationed eight to twelve hours a day. For neurodiverse professionals who may not have their own office space and are crammed into a small and/or brightly lit room with continuous chatter and noise in the background, this will take its toll over time. There are many brilliant and highly intelligent professionals with ADHD and on the autism spectrum disorder (ASD), (often undiagnosed) who find themselves in physical environments which over stimulate their brains, making it extremely challenging to carry out their professional obligations effectively.

For example, an autistic professional (formerly known as Asperger’s syndrome before this diagnosis became obsolete in both the US/UK in 2013) can only withstand so much sensory overload before their nervous system goes into overdrive. Being stuck in an office with sometimes toxic colleagues, will take its toll and eventually lead to a diagnosis of work-related stress and autistic burnout, regardless of how gifted/talented the individual may be.

The good news is that scientists have more date on neurodiverse people, and their symptoms, and common struggles than in any other time in recorded history, meaning there’s a great opportunity for business savvy executives and office managers to use this data to invest in creating a workspace that genuinely meets the needs of employees, neurotypical or otherwise. Even the basics such as creating an aesthetically pleasing workspace with plenty of natural light, and physical space between employees, and adding some plants can make a huge difference and contribute towards fostering a sense of wellbeing in the workplace. Creating a company that has a reputation for forward thinking concepts around employees’ wellbeing will pay dividends in the long-run when it comes to staff retention. This is something that we at Addcounsel have fostered in our thinking from providing the most attractive workspaces for our employees to guaranteeing a comfortable and luxurious experience for our clients.

Let’s explore the various types of neurodiversity which a percentage of the professional workforce must manage in the workplace:

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

ADHD or ADD symptoms include restlessness, difficulty concentrating or alternatively a tendency to hyperfocus on one project (if that project is one they are passionate about), a tendency tointerrupt conversations, impulsivity, and a low boredom threshold. On the plus side, many individuals with ADD regard it as their innate superpower when harnessed appropriately and given the optimal working environment.

Autism, or Autism Spectrum Conditions

Autism is a lifelong learning condition that impacts autistic people in various ways. Autism affects the way an individual processes information and communicates with others. Although some well-meaning individuals will say “we’re all on the spectrum”, this is false as the autism spectrum is a spectrum for autistic individuals alone. Another misnomer is that autistic people lack empathy, which is quite the opposite. As already mentioned in this article, some individuals who were diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome before 2013 in some Western countries (including the UK) have been integrated into the autism spectrum. Symptoms of ASD in adults includes a lack of inflection when speaking, difficulty reading the emotions of others, heightened sensory overload (which can lead to emotional melt-downs when severe), social anxiety, difficulty reading or understanding facial expressions, discomfort when maintaining eye contact, difficulty understanding sarcasm and finding small talk difficult and emotionally draining.

Dyspraxia, or Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)

Dyspraxia is a common disorder which affects co-ordination and movement but does not impact intelligence or cognitive ability. British Dyslexia Association writes: “DCD is distinct from other motor disorders such as cerebral palsy and stroke. The range of intellectual ability is in line with the general population. Individuals may vary in how their difficulties present; these may change over time depending on environmental demands and life experience, and will persist into adulthood.” The association continues: “An individual’s coordination difficulties may affect participation and functioning of everyday life skills in education, work and employment. Children may present with difficulties with self-care, writing, typing, riding a bike, play, as well as other educational and recreational activities. In adulthood many of these difficulties will continue, as well as learning new skills at home, in education and work, such as driving a car and DIY.”

Dyscalculia

Put simply, dyscalculia is a learning disability in math. The condition makes it very difficult for otherwise highly intelligent professionals to perform tasks which include maths. According to scientists, individuals do not grow out of dyscalculia. National Numeracy UK states that: “Until recently, dyscalculia was thought of as being an umbrella term for all maths learning difficulties but since 2019 that is no longer true as we now have a definition of dyscalculia which was developed by the British Dyslexia Association dyscalculia committee and was accepted by SASC (SpLD Assessment Standards Committee) who regulated assessment in 2019.” (NN) continues: “What is significant about this definition is that it suggests that maths learning difficulties are a continuum with dyscalculia at the extreme end. In other words, lots of people may have maths learning difficulties which arise from other conditions such as dyslexia where key issues associated with dyslexia, like working memory, difficulties with information retrieval, processing speed, sequencing, will impact on maths learning.”

Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a learning difficulty (not a disorder) that makes reading, writing, and spelling very challenging. Intelligence isn’t impacted by dyslexia. The aforementioned British Dyslexia Association writes: “Dyslexic people may have difficulty processing and remembering information they see and hear, which can affect learning and the acquisition of literacy skills. Dyslexia can also impact on other areas such as organisational skills. It is important to remember that there are positives to thinking differently. Many dyslexic people show strengths in areas such as reasoning and in visual and creative fields.”

Giving employees input to reduce stress and anxiety

Giving an employee input and an opportunity to discuss their personal needs in the workplace can greatly help to reduce stress and anxiety in the working environment. Firstly, when an office manager genuinely listens to the struggles of an employee, it’s going to create an atmosphere of mutual respect and perhaps trust. If a neurodiverse employee’s concerns are taken on board and acted on, this can create a positive working environment breeding both a sense of appreciation and loyalty to the company. Increased flexibility, education on good mental health practices, and exploring the best ways to communicate depending on the needs of an individual can have a massive impact.

Contact us today to start your recovery

Our experts will assess any factors that might have caused your work-related stress to develop and will leverage the world’s most extensive menu of burnout treatment services to help you get back to your old self, and create a robust aftercare programme to support re-integration into your family and lifestyle. Recovery treatment takes place in a luxury intimate, one-to-one setting in London—no groups, no other patients. Your comfort, safety and privacy are our priority.

Contact us today to start your recovery journey from the comfort and anonymity of our discreet, luxury rehabilitation accommodations in Mayfair, Chelsea, Knightsbridge or Notting Hill, London.

When you check in to our private and discreet clinics, you’ll be embarking upon a personalised burnout treatment programme tailored to your individual needs. We offer luxury private accommodation for the duration of your stay, with 24/7 access to a team of world-class experts headed by one of the UK’s leading psychiatrists.

Our integrative team is made up of a group of dedicated psychologists, physiatrists, therapists, and nutritionists who are all here to help you on your journey to burnout recovery. We combine our team’s expertise to provide a multidisciplinary treatment approach, fusing therapy, medication, and alternative treatment to improve both your physical and mental health. Contact us today to start your recovery journey.

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