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An Essential Guide to Managing Work-Related Stress

An Essential Guide to Managing Work-Related Stress

Date: 2nd May 2018 | By: Claire Malley | Categories: Health and Safety

The HSE reported that in the year 2015/2016 that there were 11.7 million days lost for workers suffering from stress, anxiety and depression. Stress is the second most common cause of occupational ill health in the UK. As an employer what can you do to ensure that your staff members are happy and help reduce the on-set of work-related stress, anxiety and depression?

Stress can affect anyone in any type of industry. Individuals who are working in the Public Sector are more prone to suffering from work-related stress including:

  • Those who are working in education establishments, such as teachers.
  • Emergency services workers i.e Police, Fire Service.
  • People working in health departments, such as nurses.
  • Those who are working in social care, such as social workers looking after their client’s welfare.

There are a number of factors within the workplace that can contribute to stress, anxiety and depression:

  • Tight Deadlines and workload pressures
  • Too much pressure and responsibility
  • Lack of managerial support
  • Violence at work
  • Role uncertainty
  • Changes within the organisation

Managing Stress in the Workplace

Stress affects everyone differently and employers have a duty to protect their employees from stress. Remember prevention is better than cure.

  • Start by looking at your organisation and ask the question have I done everything as far as is reasonably practicable to reduce the impact of stress upon my employees?
  • It is always important to encourage employees to discuss any concerns with their Line Manager, particularly if they are experiencing the feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.

If we look at the list of factors above, all of them can be adjusted or eliminated to prevent or reduce the on-set of stress. Let’s take the example of tight deadlines; an employee has been given two weeks to complete a task so how can you as their employer help to reduce the risk of them suffering from stress? Encourage them, let them know you are there to support them. Be realistic, break down the task and make a plan to help them if necessary so that it can be completed on time. The most important control measure is talking to your employees and encouraging positive communication.

Employers should be aware of the signs of stress within their organisation and know when employees start displaying any signs, this may include:

  • Arguments or mood swings
  • A decrease in performance levels and loss of motivation
  • Increased time off
  • Isolating themselves away from the team

If you are concerned that any of your employees are suffering from workplace anxiety they should complete a Risk Assessment on work-related stress. Work-related stress is one of the key health priorities for managing occupational health in the workplace which is being addressed by the HSE and the new ISO 45001 standard which has recently been launched.

Speak to our expert Health and Safety Consultants here at Wirehouse for advice and guidance to help with managing stress in the workplace. Contact us for access to our Stress Audit Questionnaire that you can issue to your employees.

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