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Managing Stress At Work

Posted On: 07/08/2018

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:

  1. Given work they cannot do
  2. Given too much work
  3. No control over deadlines
  4. No control on how to perform tasks
  5. Little or no support from management
  6. Not being able to build solid working relationships
  7. Not recognising how their role fits in with the organisation and its goals
  8. When change is not managed effectively

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:

Identifying stress

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.

Benefits package

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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