Managing Stress in the Workplace (#Stress #WorkStress)
‘Stress’ continues to be a commonly used buzz word.
Work related stress is something most of us can relate to. In the current climate it is even more apt; as people are facing redundancies and staffing levels are being reduced, it is leaving many workers under growing pressures to perform ad reach impossible targets.
Stress isn’t always predictable and causes vary from one person to another. If not dealt with, stress can affect mental health and thus quality of life.
Aspects to be aware of:
- Long working hours
- Balancing home and work life
- Too high expectations
- Working in isolation
- Poor management
- Unhealthy work culture
- Poor-skill job fit
- Unclear role/ responsibilities
- Feeling unable to cope with daily activities
- Being torn by conflicting demands.
If these factors are not effectively recognised and addressed, it can lead to:
- Low mood and morale at work
- Reduced self confidence/ self-worth
- Increased alcohol/drug use to self medicate
- Anxiety issues
Managing Stress- What managers can do:
Managers can have a policy on Mental health: signs, symptoms to be aware of. This will be useful education for managers and employees.
Ensure there exists an open and supportive culture at work, so that employees feel valued and can discuss issues before it reaches a critical point.
- Adopt a graded return to work
- Flexible working practices- sometimes it is sensible to work from home
- Discourage long working hours culture
- Tackle bullying
- Encourage and support discussions regarding workloads
- Ensure good and effective internal communication
Managers can also assess the working environment: lighting, space, working equipment, noise- are all these suitable or adequate?
Stigma attached to mental health can be destructive and can stop people getting help. Managers can help by creating a workplace culture where staff feel free to seek help without feeling like they will be labelled or discriminated against.
Occupational Health/ Workplace counselling can also be beneficial.
The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) states that employers must take a reasonable steps to ensure that employees suffering from stress/ a related illness are appropriately supported.
The Health and Safety Act 1974 requires managers to carry out risk assessments in order to reduce factors which are causing stress and thus maintain health and well being.