Stress is something that every working professional encounters, even if we don’t know when it’s really happening. It can have an effect on our productivity and working relationships. On the positive stress can be used as an extra adrenaline rush to help you work more efficiently and effectively. However, this is about as good as it gets, there comes a point where stress is no longer good, having a detrimental draining effect on your energy levels and productivity.
A well designed, structured working programme is what helps employees perform to the best of their potential. Once this working structure goes through the sieve of management and pressure, things go from good to bad. Stress can hit any employee at any level of the business and not just amongst certain sectors. Some organisations are likely to develop their own methods of dealing with stress, but a population-wide approach might be the best solution.
There was a staggering amount of work-related stress cases reported in 2014/15.
- There were a total of 440,000 cases related to stress, depression or anxiety caused by work, which is a rate of 1280 per 100,000 workers.
- 234,000 new cases were reported which is a rate of 740 per 100,000 workers. This rate has been a fairly steady rate for the past decade.
- 9 million working days were missed because of stress in, averaging 23 days per individual case.
- Stress caused 35% of all work-related ill health and 43% of all sick days were down to too much stress.
- The jobs which have the highest stress level are usually public service industries, with health, teaching, business and media having the highest reported stress cases.
Stress usually comes from one of two places. Work or home. Sometimes it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly where the stress is coming from. A stress matrix is also a good formula which Arinite health and safety advisors have formulated. It is used as a technique to find out how stressed employees actually are.
As the working life becomes more than a case of 9-5, it is easy to see why there are so many cases of stress reported. Management standards are a good way to cover the primary sources of stress at work. There are six key areas which need to be targeted.
Demands – This includes fairly obvious issues such as workload, work patterns and the working environment. Providing achievable goals means that employees will not be pushed too hard, allowing them to cope with the required demands of their job.
Control – Giving employees a certain level of control over their workload is a basic principle. Employees should be encouraged to take on new responsibilities, as a way of helping development and pushing staff forward.
Support – Employees should have the necessary support to be able to cope with their workload whilst learning new skills. The means being given the necessary resources, as well as being given the right support by colleagues and line managers.
Relationships – All relationships should be professional and appropriate for the working environment. This means promoting a positive working relationship, with bullying and the unfair use of demoting work unacceptable.
Role – Having the responsibilities of the position full established and clear is essential. The company has to be able to give enough information to help the employee fully understand his or her duties. Additional duties should not be delegated on a whim or used to take advantage of employees.
Change – No matter how big or small a change is in the organisation employees have to be notified. Tiny little changes can be the cause of stress. Sometimes change is inevitable, but it has to be thoroughly communicated with its employees.
These are the six basics standards which organisations should use in order to help keep the stress of employees down. Every person is different and stress will affect people differently, with this in mind it is hard to find the perfect way to help employees relax, so the most important thing organisations can do is try to prevent stress.
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