Of course everyone has felt stress at some point in their life, me included. But you might be surprised by how deeply and widely it is felt - our own Digital Leadership Report found that almost half of people have had stress in the last year to a degree where it has affected their work and risked their mental health.
I wanted to use this blog to reflect on this important topic, and how it can impact us all.
Not all stress is bad of course. For instance let’s say you are running in a race; a little stress can actually be a good thing, it can create that nervous expectation and heightened heart rate that might just help you run your personal best. Or let’s say you are presenting at a conference; stress can give you those butterflies in your stomach and that little ‘gulp’ when you stand up that can help you present at your shining best. Funnily enough, whenever I make an important presentation I am actually worried if I don’t get a little nervous about it!
But if there is a good side to stress, there is also a bad side. And if you have long periods of feeling stressed out, it can have an adverse effect on you, your relationships and your work.
Stress isn’t like a broken arm. It isn’t always obvious you have it, and it isn’t always obvious how to solve it. It can creep up on you.
You might think that being CEO of a great company like Harvey Nash Group allows you to rise above stress. But this couldn’t be further from the truth!
When I joined the Group in February 2020 I had exciting plans to visit every business in the company, find out what makes the group ‘tick’ and look at how we could make this great business even greater. Four weeks later the totally unexpected happened - the pandemic struck, most offices were in lockdown and my plans rapidly changed.
I was new to the business and there were many important decisions to be made.. I have very talented people around me, and I feel proud about how we responded. But there is no doubt that it was a stressful time which I wouldn’t want to repeat in a hurry.
Understanding your stress and knowing how to manage it is really important, and that’s why Harvey Nash Group is organising events throughout the month talking about stress. Look out for communications from HR, but one in particular might interest you is a webinar hosted by our very own Naledi Ngwenya, a delivery consultant from our Spinks business in Poland, which looks at how to check in on your own mental health.
Most importantly, if you are feeling the effects of stress or are feeling overwhelmed in what you are doing, do reach out. You can do this to your local wellness ambassador, your manager, your local HR leader, your friends, your family, even me if that helps! The important thing is to reach out.
Stress can be challenging, but it’s much, much less of a challenge when you have other people on your side.
keep safe and well