Stress is one of the leading reasons for sickness-related absences. Across the UK, stress-related absences cost employers over £5 billion annually. Stress can result not only in absences, but also reduced productivity, a need for replacement staff and an increased risk of a workplace accident occurring.
But combatting work-related stress among your employees is about more than just the bottom line. The overall mental health of your employees should also be a priority. Furthermore, organisations have a legal obligation to assess and manage stress-related risks.
When considering potential issues that may be causing work-related stress, organisational management and leadership should consider the following factors:
- Demands—Consider an employee’s role, workload, work patterns and work environment.
- Control—Consider whether employees have any say in what their duties entail or how they conduct them.
- Support—Management should consider the amount of encouragement, feedback and resources that are provided to employees.
- Relationships—Promoting a positive and supportive work environment between employees and their colleagues can help limit work-related stress.
- Changes—Think about the methods by which changes are managed and communicated to employees.
When it comes to identifying employees who may be suffering from work-related stress, leadership may find it helpful to analyse internal data, such as:
- Absences—Employees taking time off due to illness may be having a problem with work-related stress.
- Productivity—If an employee appears to be having trouble meeting expected performance standards, particularly if they are usually a reliable contributor, stress may be part of the reason for their struggles.
- Staff turnover—Organisations with high staff turnover rates may have inherent issues causing work-related stress. Consider asking about stress during exit interviews.
While it may not be as analytical or measurable, management may also find success identifying stressed employees simply by communicating well. Whether it be through performance appraisals, team meetings or informal chats, these interactions can provide a helpful window into how employees are feeling and their stress levels.
Contains public sector information published by the HSE and licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0. This blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as compliance or legal advice. In relation to any particular problem which they may have, readers are advised to seek specific advice. Further, the law may have changed since first publication and the reader is cautioned accordingly. Content by Zywave, Inc. provided by TH March.