Advice on Managing Stress in the Workplace

Stress Awareness Month runs every April and has been doing so since 1992. Across the UK, the month is dedicated to raising awareness of those suffering with stress and the impact it can have upon a person’s mind and body.

Stress is not an illness in itself however, extreme stress can cause a person to become both mentally and physically unwell if not dealt with appropriately. Being an overlooked topic of conversation, those suffering don’t always know who or where to turn to for help.

Effects of stress are not always immediately apparent. A number of health issues have been found among stress sufferers including high blood pressure and heart disease. This is why Stress Awareness Month is so important, it gives people an insight into the issue and provides sufferers with guidance and support.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE, 2017), stress within the workplace is a rising concern. Whether it’s a personal issue at home or the workplace environment itself, it’s crucial that an employee’s mental health is taken seriously. As an employer you are required to fulfil duty of care to all employees within your organisation.

From the HSE’s latest workplace reports, it can be identified that workplace stress accounted to 12.5 million working days lost. Those working in the public sector such as Education and Health and Social care topped the list between 2016-17 for the highest absenteeism.

Due to the tightening of health and safety legislation, it’s important that all elements of an employee’s health are considered carefully. Failure to comply with regulation leading to an employee incident can result in serious consequences for both the member of staff and organisational body responsible. As it’s Stress Awareness Month we have put together some advice on how stress can be avoided at the workplace.

  • Stress Risk Assessment – By law employers should be carry out a risk assessment for their staff. According to the HSE, organisations with more than five employees have to formally write this down so it is available for employees to access. The stress risk assessment should pinpoint all the risks associated with their roles so that each employee is aware of these when carrying out their roles.
  • Meetings and one on one sessions – Spending personal time with employees on a regular basis is a good way to address any concerns that they may have. It’s important to encourage staff to talk about any issues they are facing and remind them that there is no shame in seeking for help.
  • Short breaks – During a busy day at work it is a good idea to take short breaks to get fresh air. This will help to regain focus and relieve stress If needed.
  • Manage workload effectively – In order to deal with pressures of meeting tight deadlines ensure staff have a clear and organised system in place. If employees are able to allocate time to each task they are given, they are more likely to meet deadlines.

Taking these factors into account can help to ensure staff experience minimal stress at the workplace. Not only will stress be minimised, these small changes can positively impact an employee’s working performance. It has been proven that staff morale is hugely boosted when safety procedures are put in place as employees can feel confident in carrying out their daily roles.

Read about how Peoplesafe’s service can protect employees from different types of workplace risks, no matter what industry they work in.