The majority of people experience stress at some point in their working life. And, although a little stress can sometimes be a good thing and make employees focus more on what they need to get done, prolonged stress can lead to serious physical and mental issues. It affects employees and companies in a very negative way by reducing efficiency and making good employees hand in their notice.
A report made by the UK HSE shows that over 13 million working days are lost every year because of stress in the UK alone. Moreover, stress-related employee absence is estimated to cost the UK economy around £3.8 billion per year, it triggers 70% of visits to doctors and 85% of serious illnesses.
The most common causes of excessive workplace stress are considered to be the fear of being laid off, overtime, pressure to perform to meet rising expectations and pressure to work at optimum levels all the time.
In 2015, pilots, firefighters and journalists have reported the highest rates of work-related stress, depression or anxiety. Librarians and translators have reported the lowest levels of stress, due to fewer deadlines and little physical work.
Individuals respond to stress in different ways depending on their personality, perceptions and past experiences. In some cases, there are clear signs that people are experiencing stress at work and if these can be identified early, action can be taken before it becomes a problem.
When exposed to prolonged or repeated stress, employees may potentially suffer from a number of adverse reactions:
If left unaddressed, these issues can magnify so it’s imperative for managers to know how to recognise the early signs of stress and integrate stress management tactics and strategies into everyday management in order to quickly be able to identify issues and put actions in place to minimise the risk and causes of stress.
They could start with organising and conducting regular and informal talks with employees or performance appraisals. They could also follow the below tips to build a culture that guards against workplace stress:
All the above tips may help managers successfully deal with stress in the workplace but it is important that businesses develop a genuinely supportive culture and managers are adequately trained to recognise the warning signs of stress and know how to communicate with employees about this.
Paying attention to employee wellbeing can only bring positive benefits to a company by keeping valued employees engaged and creating the right environment for success.
What does your company do to tackle workplace stress?
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