Keeping work-related stress at bay
Occupational stress has been described as an epidemic by many commentators in recent years. With the number of working days lost to stress, depression or anxiety reaching over 11 million in 2013/14, it’s clear that the cost of mental health problems can be disastrous for business. The toll stress takes on the sufferer should not be underestimated either. From heart disease, to obesity, to premature death, stress can increase the risk of a range of serious health problems. As being unhappy at work is the most common causes of stress, employers can make a massive difference to the health of the nation by taking the following steps.
Invest in education
Learning what stress is, why it occurs, how it can manifest itself and what staff members can do to reduce the risk is essential if workplaces are to enhance their practices and individuals are to improve their coping abilities. Enrolling workers on stress awareness courses is a great way of providing them with the skills and knowledge they need to fend off stress. Conveniently, many providers including Phoenix H&S now offer such courses online.
Communicate with staff
Pressure at work is par for the course but when a person cannot cope with the demands being placed on them, it can lead to stress. To ensure that workers aren’t overburdened, always keep the lines of communication open. Regular one-to-one meetings between workers and managers should be company policy and all staff members should be encouraged to talk openly about their ability to handle their workload. Rather than being made to feel ashamed for speaking out, they should be acknowledged for their honesty.
Promote a positive work/life balance
If employees are working late every night and putting in additional hours at the weekend, it may be that they have more responsibilities than they can handle. Overworked personnel are more likely to suffer from stress so it’s important that a manager reviews an employee’s workload if they suspect that they are doing too much. Staff should also be encouraged to take their holidays and to relax during evenings and weekends to avoid burnout.
Offer workplace counselling
Through training, businesses should equip workers with the skills and knowledge they need to cope with day to day stressors in the workplace. However, some organisations can go a step further by offering workplace counselling. This job perk can enable workers suffering from mental health problems, such as stress, caused by major life changes like divorce or bereavement to continue in their roles. It can also help people suffering from chronic conditions such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and eating disorders to better manage their conditions.