Stress and chronic ill health in the workplace is costing the UK industry £100bn per year
This is mainly due to employees either being off sick, or due to presenteeism which is when someone is at work, but not performing. These figures include both small and large organisations and it is now time to take effective action.
Evidence also shows that productivity can be reduced through the lower level of performance of employees who are at work but experiencing stress or mental health problems.
Presenteeism costs £15.1 billion a year, which is almost twice the estimated annual cost of absenteeism (£8.4 billion).
Source: Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health (2007) Mental health at work: developing the business case. Policy paper 8. London: Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health.
For all employers it is an area that requires to be managed effectively. There is good information available on the Health and Safety Executive website with good advice for SMEs.
A stress related compensation award was in September 2009 when a Birmingham hospital was forced to pay a health worker £370,550 plus a further £24,000 every year of his life, after he claimed working in the NHS caused him stress.
Stress is preventable but many people do not accept that they are stressed. Stress is due to a build up of excessive pressure when an individual is unable to cope with that pressure.
Consider what is causing your stress - this could be noise, too hot, too cold or it could be an individual, manager, or colleague.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 state that any organisations of greater than 5 people are required to assess the risk of stress-related ill health arising from work activities. If you haven't carried out a Risk Assessment, try doing one now and this will give you an indication of any changes that may be required.
Reducing stress at work helps with improving performance of all within the work environment.
A Health of the Workplace survey carried out by Norwich Union in 2009 of 200 GPs, 200 business leaders and 1,000 employees identified that more than 9 out of 10 of the GPs and 80% of employers polled predicted that stress-related illness will be the most critical occupational health issue of 2009. However, 97% of business leaders agree the health status of staff impacts upon productivity; but only 1% said they planned to introduce new health measures in 2009.
Occupation groups containing teachers, nurses, and housing and welfare officers, customer service workers, and certain professional and managerial groups have high prevalence rates of self-reported work-related stress according to the Labour Force Survey. It also shows people working within public administration and defence to have high prevalence rates of self-reported work-related stress.
Source: Health and Safety Executive statistics
Investors in People carried out a poll of 2,261 adults, and found that 39% of UK employees said that their stress levels are higher now than a year ago. Only 29% said that their employer was doing anything to help them deal with the additional stress. 43% noted increased stress levels due to a lack of confidence in management, and just 5% found an increase in support from their managers during the recession.
It is now time for employers to take action and realise that stress is a significant problem within the workforce. An employer who does take action would then be an ideal 'Employer of Choice'.
This is for managers and if you have a problems or issue with your manager.
When you have a problem with your manager
Speak to your manager or if it is someone else, do it NOW before it escalates.
Make sure you find a private area where you can speak.
Plan beforehand what you want to say and make sure that you feel confident and even try and smile.
Some things to consider:
You have the power to change your current situation, but you need to ask yourself:
Managers should be trained
All managers should be trained on how to manage stress in their workplace as a priority. The law requires employers to tackle stress and they should be managing stress effectively and where identified should be carrying out stress risk assessments.
Research has shown work-related stress can have adverse effects for organisations, such as employee commitment to work, reduced performance and productivity, high staff turnover, high sickness/absence levels, organisational image and reputation, and potential litigation.
All managers should be trained on how to manage stress in their workplace as a priority.
It has been estimated that 80 million workdays are lost each year due to stress, depression and anxiety.
Identify the cause(s) of stress within the work environment.
Ensure that breaks and lunch breaks are away from the computer or workspace
Try not to have music on all the time
Any constant noises should be reduced, if possible
Communicate effectively to all
Drink about 8 glasses of water daily
Healthy eating such as fruit and vegetables daily
Talk to someone if you are feeling stressed or under pressure
No time - then make time and create an action plan for the next week/month
Worried - create a Worry List with headings 'Worry' and 'Reason'
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