Let’s face it - we’re living in stressful times. The world can be a complex and confusing place at the best of times, but we’re definitely inside an era-defining moment of global disruption. Our day to day worries and stresses already take up valuable head space, so when you’re faced with problems that we can’t control, how do you stop anxiety taking over? 
 
 
What is anxiety? 
We all go through periods of stress and worry. Whether it’s work, relationship, or life-related, it’s a perfectly natural response to certain situations or circumstances. Anxiety is an extension of this and usually happens when our levels of worry are ramped up enough to make us feel exceptionally tense, nervous, or afraid. 
 
When tensions arise in any workplace team, as a manager, it can be tempting to gloss over it or let it resolve itself. But effective management of employee tensions and conflicts in their early stages is crucial in order to minimise any fallout. So what can you do to resolve conflict in the workplace? 
 
What causes conflict at work? 
Team conflict can appear at any time for many different reasons. Whether it originates from low-level differences, misunderstandings, or personality clashes, or deeper, more long-established issues, it’s crucial to handle every individual situation tactfully – and quickly. 
 
Though not an exhaustive list, we’ve set down some of the most common reasons for conflict in the workplace – some more serious than others – and what they can mean for those involved. 
In 2015, Clearfocus Mental Health and Communications Training started life after a successful counselling, psychotherapy, and hypnotherapy company decided to shift focus to the business-training sector. 
 
Five years on, and Clearfocus Training provides specialist mental health and communications training to businesses and organizations up and down the country. Covering many core areas and subjects, including Mental Health in the Workplace, Mental Health Awareness, Conflict and Resolution, and Effective Communication among others, Clearfocus Training always looks to develop a safer working environment. 
 
But who is Clearfocus Training? This article aims to give you some background information on who we are and what it is that makes us qualified to help you and your business with mental health and communication in the workplace. 
Open and clear communication in the workplace is one of the most important aspects of running any business, whatever the industry or sector. In fact, we’d go as far as to say it’s essential for both employers and employees alike. Poor communication at work can lead to a range of potential problems which can have an adverse effect on staff performance and colleague relationships. 
 
Is this an area where you or your team needs to improve in 2020? Here we’ll look at some of the best ways to help become a better communicator at work with effective communication between team members and managers. 
 
However much you love your job, there’s nothing quite like looking forward to taking some time off. It could be a duvet day, a long weekend, or even your annual 2-week holiday in the sun. Whatever it is, you’ll have a clear vision in your mind about what you’re going to do and how you’re going to spend that valuable down time. But there’s just one thing standing in your way, and that’s getting organised at work to prepare for your time off. 
 
Holidays and time off away from your work is essential to your health and wellbeing. Escaping from a full and stressful workload gives you valuable space and time to really get away from it all and spend time with friends, family, and loved ones. And taking a step back helps you recharge your batteries, reduce your stress levels, and get some much needed perspective on your workload. 
 
Though a time of happiness and celebration for many, for some, coping with the pressures of Christmas and all that goes with it can be overwhelming. And in the workplace, many employees can feel the effects of Christmas taking its toll long before the office shutdown. So, what can employers do to help their staff deal with Christmas stress in the workplace? 
 
Tackling SAD 
The run up to Christmas should be something to look forward to as many businesses look to end the year on a positive – and festive – high. At one of the busiest times of the year for many businesses, the mid-winter period can leave employees with the feeling they’re not coping or performing as well as they should. 
 
The way we communicate to our employees can often affect the results they are able to generate. Naturally, the more positively we communicate the more influence we have over positive results. However, being a manager is not easy, there is sometimes the sense of being put on a peddle stool and others forget that you are just as human as anyone else. From time to time, being human can mean using these 3 phrases, which you should absolutely try to avoid. 
Whether it’s in our job, our hobbies, or our everyday life, it’s becoming more and more important to be able to manage time effectively. 
 
While to many, the ability to get through a long list of tasks in the 24 hours we get each day seems superhuman, all of us can be time management superheroes with the right tools and tips. So, don your capes and get ready to kapow! your old habits. 
There’s a metaphor used frequently as inspiration for business leaders that commands “be like a swan - remain calm and collected on the surface, but paddle like hell underneath.” In other words, don’t let people see the chaos ensuing behind the scenes. 
 
At Clearfocus Training, we sing to a different tune. It’s our view that what goes on in the background directly affects how the public view you in the foreground, and subsequently, damages your bottom line. When businesses paddle like hell, it’s often because they’re sinking under the weight of poor systems, poor processes and poor communication. 
In November of last year, business leaders and unions wrote an open letter to the leaders of our county urging them to give as much weight to mental health as physical. Their message was simple: trivialising workplace mental health is inviting low productivity, poor profitability and severely impacting people’s quality of life. 
 
“Equalise the number of mental health first aiders with physical first aiders” they called in unison. “Break the stigma of mental health in the workplace”. 
Why is mental health training eclipsed by physical first aid? 
 
Mental illness is certainly not a new phenomenon. What is new is the conversation surrounding it. Mental health affects our psychological, social and emotional wellbeing. Basically, everything that cannot be seen by the naked eye unless it is known what to look for. 
 
The mental health movement has certainly seen an increase in businesses taking notice and implementing mental health measures. But statistics show that employers are still more willing to cram their workplaces full of first-aid boxes and teach CPR than they are to focus on mental health. 
 
This is largely down to the following three reasons: 
Employers aren’t sure how to tackle mental health. Physical first aid is a breeze in comparison. 
Health and safety standards in the UK are world-class and workplace lawsuits can have serious repercussions for profitability and reputation – something employers can’t risk. 
The costs of mental health action outweigh those of a few first aid boxes. 
 
Awareness is brilliant but action is essential 
 
Raising awareness is great – mental health is more documented now than ever before. But this can only go so far to breaking down the barriers surrounding mental health, much in the same way that creating noise around plastic in the ocean can only go so far to stopping the issue. 
 
The letter, which had backing from big names like Alistair Campbell and Len McCluskey, argued that cost should not be a consideration because spending money on improving workplace mental health is an investment. 
 
‘Each year, workplace mental health issues cost the UK economy almost £35 billion, with 15.4 million working days lost to work-related stress, depression or anxiety. But the cost is not just financial’ they said. 
 
Left untreated mental ill health impacts a person’s relationships with friends and family and ultimately their quality of life.’ 
 
Alistair Campbell was amongst the business leaders who signed the letter 
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