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According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), 526,000 people suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/2017. This equates to 12.5 million days lost and accounts for over 40% of all work-related illnesses.
Not only do employers have a legal duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its workforce, but combatting stress in the workplace will increase engagement and help to retain a motivated and healthy workforce.
Stress in the workplace
Some employees thrive when put under a certain level of stress but, when the pressure becomes excessive, productivity, efficiency and motivation lower and the health of the employee can suffer.
The causes of stress
There are many causes of stress outside of work, for example relationship issues and financial problems, but many stem directly from the workplace. These are the 8 most common causes for work-related stress experienced by an employee:
Importance of tackling stress in the workplace
Identifying and dealing with stress at work is not only a legal obligation for the employee, but there are many benefits to the organisation:
Spotting signs of stress in the workplace is the first step:
Approaching the subject
To coin a phrase ‘it’s good to talk’, the power of a one to one conversation should never be underestimated. Many people are afraid to admit to feelings of stress, so it can be a great relief when a manager either makes the first move and offers support or responds positively should the employee ask for a talk about how they are feeling.
To get the most out of the talk:
Depending on the cause of stress, many further meetings may need to take place. It may also be a good idea to involve other senior managers or a HR professional.
Continue to monitor the situation
Even when a solution has been found, it is good practice to monitor the situation and speak regularly.
The importance of employee engagement
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could prevent stress? Undoubtedly the answer is yes, but very hard to achieve. What every employer can do to help reduce stress is to get to know their workforce better and to encourage open and honest communication. Promoting positive wellbeing in the workplace will go a long way and be beneficial to both you and your employees.
Effective employee engagement will identify any issues within the workforce, what motivates them and what is working well for them, and is based on trust, integrity and respectful communication between the employee and the employer. This approach is key to performance, profit, productivity, customer service, retention, innovation, wellbeing and the success of the business.
An appropriate employee engagement survey can act as an engagement 'check-up' on a specific department, staff grouping or whole organisation. It is important to get ‘under the surface’ of engagement scores and understand what people are engaged with: their work, their manager, customer, colleagues, the organisation as a whole, or something else. Analysing the results will enable you to identify areas where engagement needs re-energising or areas where pressure is building.
Is your benefits package one that your workforce can relate to? Following an employment engagement exercise you can adjust your benefit and reward packages to suit the needs of your workforce. This can include discounts on gym membership and health screening – great for physical and mental health and demonstrates that you care about your workforce.
If you are concerned about stress within the workplace, need advice on how to handle stress or plan to carry out an employee engagement survey, call our friendly team to talk through your needs on 0161 941 2426.
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