Blog

14 May 2018
Stress in the workplace

As we begin National Mental Health Week, we look at stress within the workplace.

As we all know, stress can have a huge impact on our work life especially when it comes to our happiness and productivity levels. This results in higher staff turner over too. A recent report published by hse.gov.uk found that a whopping 526,000 workers are suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety. To put it in perspective, the UK lost out on 12.5 million working days in 2016/17 alone.

A further study by Freedom Finance looked to compare stress between generations and found that millennial’s are the most likely to suffer.

Number of people who experience some level of work related stress:

Baby Boomers = 70%

Generation X = 81%

Millennials/Generation Y = 88%

There are a number of factors that induce stress at work such as excessively high workloads, with unrealistic deadlines making people feel rushed, under pressure and overwhelmed. Insufficient workloads, making people feel that their skills are being underused. A lack of control over work activities are to name just a few. The HSE has defined six main areas that lead to stress: demands, control, support, relationships, role and change.

By being aware of the signs of stress can help employers manage it directly. If an employee starts acting differently, it can be a sign they are stressed. The HSE describe the signs of stress as:

A change in the way someone acts can be a sign of stress, for example they may:

  • take more time off
  • arrive for work later
  • be more twitchy or nervous

A change in the way someone thinks or feels can also be a sign of stress, for example:

  • mood swings
  • being withdrawn
  • loss of motivation, commitment and confidence
  • increased emotional reactions – being more tearful, sensitive or aggressive

Business owners and managers need to regularly monitor and evaluate individual and overall workloads within the company. If there is more work than people, then they may need to consider recruiting or looking at ways in which technology can take away mundane tasks. Flexible work environments and the opportunity to work from home can all help ease stress from employees. A happy team is a productive team and this can only mean good news for businesses.

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