Looking after the mental health of ourselves, our staff and our
colleagues is perhaps more important now than ever.
During national Stress Awareness Month this April, The Business
Exchange is sharing insights and advice from health and wellbeing experts across
our business community.
This week’s interview is with Katie
Bullock, HR Manager at Swindon-based
specialist tech company Ntegra. With a team across the world of
more than 60 people, Katie believes stress levels over the last year have
Helping your team to cope with stress
Do you think about stress among Ntegra staff?
I am always conscious of stress
levels among the team and feel it’s my responsibility to be doing all I can to
help reduce it. With every new client-win we celebrate, or successful project
we deliver, I know how much hard work and plate spinning happens behind the
Our team are so focused and
dedicated to delighting our clients that sometimes stress is inevitable, however
we work hard as a management team to monitor and maintain that balance.
Has this awareness increased during lockdown?
Absolutely. Looking back to this time last year, we were staring
into scary unknowns, yet I am so proud of how we navigated this. From the very
start of lockdown, we made it a priority to keep everybody connected and
engaged and keep morale up through various initiatives, events and open and
We are lucky to have had our busiest year to date, which has meant growing and training new team members remotely. It’s all-new terrain which is inevitably stressful but ultimately going through the ups and downs with integrity and respect for our people has only made the business stronger.
How can others in business (HR managers or managers) recognise tell-tale signs of stress?
It’s important to understand what a good and bad day looks like for individuals, because everyone is different. The parameter is different for each person and even for that person, their stress threshold can change.
It is important to build the psychological safety and trust for
individuals to be open about how they are feeling, and to respond with empathy
and support. Some signs might be sudden changes in mood, a change in their contribution
to work, or a dipping of their energy levels or even an unnatural ‘spiking’ of
those energy levels.
What tips would you have to ‘call it out’?
Firstly ask the individual how they are feeling, you’ll probably need to ask twice, but if you have the right relationship, they should open up.
There isn’t much that can’t be
solved by talking a problem through openly and I am also big advocate for
taking a break and revisiting the thing that’s causing stress with a refreshed
What activities have you organised within Ntegra to support employee wellbeing?
We have various initiatives which work together to support
employee wellbeing. Our managers have been trained in effective communication
and having difficult conversations, so they are well equipped to support
anything which is causing stress in their teams.
We have facilitated emotional resilience and stress management
workshops, we have weekly yoga sessions and we have employee feedback groups
where individuals are invited to share any concerns or stressors without
We also have regular social events such as coffee mornings, games
and ‘Wellbeing Wednesdays’ where we take it in turns to share tips.
All these events are designed to maintain strong relationships,
encourage collaboration and build trust.
Find out more about Ntegra