Continued from page 1
Stress accounts for around 40% of long-term absences – and can reduce performance by up to 70%!! If it leads to a high staff turnover that compounds situation, disrupting business, increasing costs (direct and indirect) and reducing profitability. It is estimated that over 270,000 people are absent from work every day due to stress related issues! 1 in 5 report feeling extremely stressed at work. That is 5m people!!
If you are an employer, or a manager, you need to pay attention to what is happening in your workplace regarding stress. It affects people, performance and you! Stress is not an illness, it is a state and can be managed or changed. However, not doing so can result in someone becoming ill.
The other reason for paying attention to this is that there is legislation around it! There is duty of care and responsibility attached to managers as part of Health and Safety legislation. This means undertaking risk assessments, creating a positive environment and managing work activity to reduce stress and pressure at work.
You can use these questions to get an immediate sense of where you are meeting HSE criteria and where issues may occur for your business:
How well would your workplace score? Which areas could do with some attention? Remember, prevention is usually preferable to cure in most things. Pay attention to these factors and you can start to address stress early on, preventing it becoming a problem. This will reduce chances of it spreading. If you can identify specific areas, or individuals, where stress seems to occur frequently, consider how you can “quarantine” them!
- The culture of your organisation - how does it approach work-related stress?
- Demands on people, such as workload and exposure to physical hazards. Is work sensibly scheduled so that workload levels are right?
- Control over their work and way they do it – how much say do staff have?
- Relationships – how do you deal with issues such as bullying or harassment? (Remember, up to 1 in 5 reports they have been bullied at work.)
- Organisational change – how is it managed and communicated?
- Understanding of role – do individuals understand their role in organisation? Does organisation ensure that individuals do not have conflicting roles or challenges? (Is there a clear definition of roles?)
- Support and training from peers and line managers for person to be able to do core functions of job – do you cater for individual needs and differences?
Look at your organisation, and yourself if necessary and think about what you can do against these factors to vaccinate it against stress! You do not want it becoming an epidemic – it is bad for business!! Make time to avoid pressure turning to stress for you personally and you will be in a better position to look at those around you and spot early warning signs – and support people who may be in danger of becoming stress spreaders to stop them at source!
To keep yourself in right state to avoid becoming stressed or a stress spreader, learn to be reasonable with yourself – and others. Keep things in perspective and set realistic standards and expectations for yourself.
When things are building up ask yourself:
– what will this look like in a year when we look back on it? (Or 3 years or 6 months.) How important will it seem then?
- what will be worst that might happen if I don’t…….?(or do!)
- what am I gaining by always thinking I have to be "Superman" or “Superwoman”? How often do I manage it?
Stress can be contagious – and when it is negative form of stress it spreads quickly and no-one enjoys it or benefits. Prevent it with your attitudes and behaviour to yourself and others.
Graham Yemm a founding partner of Solutions 4 Training Ltd. He has worked with many different organisations around the world conducting both training and consultancy assignments. He is a Master Practitioner of NLP and an accredited trainer for the LAB profile programme – “Words that Change Minds”. Contact, <Back to Page 1