Stress, although not a diagnosable medical condition, is a major part of many mental health problems. The sources of stress can lead to long term health problems and absences from the workplace.
Employers have a responsibility to support staff and manage stress in the workplace. The Health and Safety Executive’s Management Standards for Tackling Work-Related Stress highlight demands, control, support, relationships, roles and change as the main contributing factors.
Employers can manage stress in the workplace by taking steps to reduce the risk of their employees experiencing stress in the first place, and by supporting those who do encounter stress.
Training in stress can help individuals to act on a personal level within their home and work environments to reduce the sources of stress and to combat its effects.
Knowing where to start is often difficult but the following are some useful stress management techniques and suggestions of how to reduce stress in your working environment:
- Promote self help – engage your staff in the realities and effects of stress; giving clear tools on how you and they can both work on reducing it together.
- Regularly remind staff of what you are doing to help them reduce stress in the workplace. This not only keeps individuals engaged in the topic at work, but helps to promote its importance in the wider world.
- Offer practical and physical ways of managing stress; consider yoga, meditation or access to leisure facilities.
- Offer training in stress awareness, management and resilience.
- Ensure stress risk management processes are in place and backed up by policy.
- Provide access to employee assistance programmes and an occupational health service.
Engaging your staff in both the effects of stress and what it is you are doing to combat it with them can have vastly positive effects on the workforce. These include increased productivity, lower absence, lower staff turnover and improved morale.
CiC are always happy to hear from organisations that would like talk about managing stress in the workplace and its effect on individuals and teams.