I’m sure you would agree that stress effects a large portion of the population, not just here in the UK but globally. We have all experienced work-related stress at some point in our lifetime and unfortunately this effects some more than others. However, does this then mean we should then just expect it and move on? No, It’s something we all need to be aware of personally and especially as employers. We need to know how to tackle this ever-growing issue.
Cases of employees taking time off due to stress have continued to increase yearly according to the Health and Safety Executive. In Britain alone, 44% of work-related illnesses are based in stress, and 15.4 million working days were lost In 2017/2018 due to work related stress, depression or anxiety.
What is stress?
Before anything else, we need to understand stress, the main causes and then know how to manage that as an employer.
Firstly, stress is defined as a harmful reaction that people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them, particularly at the workplace. That gross negative feeling you feel inside you, yes that is stress. This can be associated with physical symptoms,
- Shortness of breath
- Increased heartbeat
- Stomach issues
- Raised blood pressures
- Sweaty palms
These are just a few of the symptoms associated with stress. Over time, these issues can worsen and turn into serious health problems, so it’s important to do your part to prevent stress in your staff.
What are the main causes of stress?
The significant cause of work-related stress, depression or anxiety was workload according to the Labour Force Survey (2009/10-2011/12). In particular, the tight deadlines given to employees, too much work or too much pressure or responsibility. Other factors also identified included a lack of managerial support, organisational changes at work, violence and role uncertainty meaning a lack of clarity about their job and what their meant to do.
Everyone will react differently to stress and you may not notice many of the different factors that will indicate whether your staff are being affected, however there are signs of stress that can help you determine if your employee needs your help,
- Unable to concentrate
- Memory problems
- Withdrawing from others
- Constant illness
- Nervous habits (e.g. leg shaking, nail biting, pacing)
These are just a few examples with regards to the signs of stress and they help determine a clearer way if you need to help one of your staff. If there is a sudden change in their personality, you will be in a much better position as you know your colleagues and are a lot more likely to see if they’ve changed their mannerisms in any sudden way.
How do we manage stress as an employer?
Yes, it’s true, a little bit of stress can be a good thing but let’s just emphasise the word ‘little’.
It can be a great motivator, any level of importance can mean a small amount of stress on your employees. But remember, we are not meaning a constant stream of stressful scenarios, so those targets you’ve got for your staff, the more these build up, the more pressure put on them to reach it, will become a stress factor in your employees.
What can you do to help your staff?
Always be aware of the signs of stress. If you have noticed that someone has shown some of these signs and they are behaving differently to normal, just simply have a conversation. Take them aside and see if there is anything that could be wrong in their work environment or personally that could be making them behave the way they are. Keeping things informal will help them to relax with you and open-up about any issues they may be facing. Just something this simple can emphasise to your employee that they are valued.
Managing stress within your workplace
Would you like to know how to better interpret the signs of stress and know the ways in which you can help your staff? A workplace training session for all your employees can be the ideal way to ensure that those in your organisation have the knowledge and tools to work together and tackle this issue. We provide the ideal opportunity for you, Stress Management Workshop brought to your office. If you are interested in this course, contact us 01933 678110 OR email: firstname.lastname@example.org.