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Encouraging a stress-free environment

Written by Frank Milner on Saturday, 03 April 2021. Posted in People

Whilst we still find ourselves in a situation that continues to cause stress, it’s imperative that everyone has an eye out for their peers.

Encouraging a stress-free environment

Whilst we still find ourselves in a situation that continues to cause stress, it’s imperative that everyone has an eye out for their peers. In a franchise, there are many different people to factor into this besides franchisees, including employees, clients and their family members. For Stress Awareness Month, I hope to share some insight into how franchisors can ensure stress levels are kept to a minimum, by outlining what can be implemented to help do just that. 

Communication is key to it all, as getting people talking usually helps diffuse any problems they might be dealing with. As the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved. Whilst the pandemic has halted face-to-face interactions, I’m sure I speak for many when I say that remaining in contact virtually has helped with a fair proportion of situations. A 2020 survey revealed that 79%* of employed adults in the UK commonly experience workplace stress. Although this isn’t the only cause, it’s very easy for stress to seep into other areas of our lives. 

As with most things, it’s about catching it early on and nipping it in the bud. Below are some of the ways that Tutor Doctor ensures that people in the network don’t get impacted by workplace stress. 

Regular check-ins

Although we’ve always placed emphasis on frequently checking in with the network, it’s taken even more of a spotlight during the pandemic. Stress can manifest very quickly, so being able to speak regularly – every week in Tutor Doctor’s case – can help with getting to the root of the problem before it escalates. We encourage a clear and open conversation to prevent matters from getting worse. 

Other franchisees’ support 

Across the UK, most franchisees have a neighbour in a nearby territory. We actively promote the benefits of getting to know them, sharing success and becoming a buddy in good and tough times. Similar to franchisees having the option to come to Home Office for support, their neighbouring franchisees are just a phone call away. 

Team satisfaction

We understand that the morale of the team is felt by everyone. If a franchisee is feeling a certain level of stress, chances are that will transfer to their office staff and team too. Whilst the transition to working online created some unwelcome stress, there was a certain duty of care to ensure that any challenges were dissipated very early on. At Tutor Doctor, we encourage franchisees to consider their team’s wellbeing, whether that’s by asking the right questions and being an active listener, providing wellbeing days to sustain their mental health or treating them to lunch once a month. We promoted an environment for collaboration and connectedness. 

Starting from the top 

Our support typically starts at the top in Home Office. When we provide our team with the opportunity to thrive, they can be in the best frame of mind to support franchisees to operate at their very best too. As with any business, we’ve had to face the challenges of working remotely but luckily, being an international franchise, we’ve already got software to allow us to do that. The pandemic simply led us to rely on it more. 

For Home Office staff, we adopt the same principles that franchisees have with their teams, just with a few additional extras. Some of our activities include ‘Wellness Wednesday’, our monthly yoga and mental health sessions, a monthly after-work beer hosted on Zoom and regular team member recognitions with draws to win prizes. We have also opted for a ‘big talk’ session, moving away from the usual small talk and going deeper than the surface ‘how are you?’. That’s not to mention our daily 15-minute huddles with the entire team and emphasis on professional development. We know how important it is to support every team member as we focus on moving forward as a collective. 

Stress can present itself in many different ways, across various areas of our lives. As we spend a third of our lives at work, it’s paramount to ensure that everyone across the entire network is supported in their roles and championed to be the best version of themselves. 

Sources: 

* PerkBox, The 2020 UK workplace stress survey, 2020. 

About the Author

Frank Milner

Frank Milner

Having worked as a stockbroker, built a successful insurance business, acted as a sales coach and then taken on a vice president role at WSI, the digital marketing franchise, Milner has an impressive and varied background in business, franchising, sales and marketing. In his current role as CEO of Tutor Doctor, the private tutoring franchise, he's seen the company grow globally to include 500 franchisees spread across the world, including the UK.

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