Telephone 01708 898770 Login

News

Tips on Tackling Workplace Stress

20/07/2018 According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), more than 12 million days are lost at work on average every year because of stress, costing employers between £33 billion and £43 billion. As an employer, you may be in the dark about how workplace stress affects your workforce, and how it can impact upon your business. It really is important to be aware of all the facts around this subject. The following should prove helpful in this respect.

 

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), more than 12 million days are lost at work on average every year because of stress, costing employers between £33 billion and £43 billion.

The HSE is working to reduce work-related stress. Their Go Home Healthy campaign covers three focus areas, one of which is workplace stress. They say that excessive pressure and demands at work can lead to stress which in turn causes chronic mental and physical health conditions. They have created a campaign specifically to help employers manage the risks of stress.

As an employer, you may be in the dark about how workplace stress affects your workforce, and how it can impact upon your business. It really is important to be aware of all the facts around this subject. The following should prove helpful in this respect.

What causes workplace stress?

There is a wide variety of causes of workplace stress and these will vary from one individual to the next.

Some people will start to feel overloaded by the volume or type of work they are being expected to handle. Others will sense they are losing control in situations where they have no say over when and how they carry out their tasks. A belief that support is lacking, or there is no one to talk to when problems arise, can also lead to feelings of stress, as can a failure to build relationships at work.

Anxiety over the quality of their work, and being unsure of whether that work is being well received is also likely to induce stress in some people. And when change is introduced, some find it hard to deal with, especially if it is not well managed.

Why should I be concerned about workplace stress?

It is crucial for employers to recognise the importance of mental health and start to prioritise it and take it seriously.

Positive mental health leads to a more buoyant workforce which equates to a more successful business. Poor mental health amongst staff can have a considerably negative impact upon a business as a whole, as well as the individuals affected.

Reducing work-related stress will help staff feel happier and healthier at work. It will enhance performance, boost productivity, reduce absence and workplace disputes and make a business more appealing to those seeking new positions.

What am I legally required to do as an employer concerning workplace stress?

Employers have a legal duty to prevent stress becoming a problem for their workforce and are obliged to carry out a risk assessment, and then take steps to act on it.

The HSE has produced a risk assessment template to help with the task, and it has also provided a selection of example risk assessment case studieswhich employers should find useful.

What more can I do to reduce workplace stress?

There is a great deal an employer can do to boost the mental health of its workforce.

Offer a well-being programme

A recent survey exploring well-being issues across 23 countries revealed that the UK ranks in the bottom five globally for mental health, with over a quarter of those suffering from stress citing work as the cause of their condition.

One of the findings of the survey was that only one in 10 people in the UK reported that their workplace offered a well-being programme, compared to a worldwide average of one in five.

44 per cent of respondents in the survey said that they would be encouraged to accept a role with an employer who offered a well-being package.

A well-being package could include access to counselling and support information; a financial information service and a legal assistance service.

Keep the door open

Promoting an open-door approach and encouraging staff to talk to their supervisors if they start to develop any concerns is another way employers can help tackle this issue.

Acas has some excellent advice on promoting positive mental health in the workplace, starting with understanding mental health and running through example case studies that will help you as an employer take steps to make improvements in your own working environment.

Train staff

Staff training in mental health awareness is another initiative that can make an exceptional difference. With managers trained to spot the signs of mental ill-health, and to know how to administer ‘mental health first aid' to help manage the problems from the outset, the risks of mental ill-health could be considerably reduced.

Provide health insurance with good mental health cover

Through insurance, employers can make it more straightforward for their staff to seek access to treatment without a GP referral. Bupa has announced plans to extend its mental health cover for businesses as claims of this nature have doubled in the past ten years.

Try to choose a health insurance policy for your staff that delivers well on mental health cover.

In summary

In summary, getting mental health out into the open in the workplace is vital. Workers need to feel comfortable seeking help and must not let embarrassment put them off talking through the issues they are experiencing.

Positive mental health leads to a happy workforce, and a happy workforce leads to a resilient business.


Back to recent news