Job demands become more stressful
One in four Brits have taken time off work due to stress but blamed it on physical illness instead, a report by Aviva has found.
The study found that a third of people (33 per cent) have taken a day off work with stress at some stage in their career. People aged 25-34 were the most likely to have taken time off (46 per cent) while those aged over 55 seemingly the least likely to need time away from work (25 per cent).
More than half of men (53 per cent) had taken a day off with stress compared to just a third of women (34 per cent),
Those suffering from stress in the last year took an average of six days off and more than a quarter of people cited money as their main cause of stress (27 per cent),
Here’s some practical advice from Lisa Gillespie, director of HR Services at HR & Payroll provider Moorepay, on how to deal with workplace stress:
- Work in teams – shared tasks are less likely to overwhelm staff and if someone is having a bad day, others help support getting the tasks completed
- Offer external counselling for life events – money, relationships and other domestic issues can reduce resilience to ordinary work stressors
- Make time in 121s for workers to open up about any problems which are affecting their work – managers should develop a good rapport with staff to enable such issues to be discussed
- Reward over-achievement – positive feedback amplifies the feelings individuals gain from having worked hard to achieve; this can counteract any feelings of being undermined in other parts of their lives
- Get to know what worries team members – just asking ‘how are you?’ is not always enough. Ask questions which help them to open up e.g. what three things would you like to change in work or life to help you meet your personal/career aspirations?
- If someone if showing symptoms of stress but does not open up, make a point of reminding them you are there to support them
- If a worker tells you of something which is creating pressure spend time helping them to unpick the problems and putting practical measures in place such as breaking tasks down into small pieces or sharing them
- Physical health makes people more resilient so encourage workers to take breaks, encourage external activities such as charity running events, cycle to work schemes and provide somewhere they can have lunch or a tea break away from desks or where they do their work
- Always ensure statutory obligations relating to workplace safety are embedded such as health checks for night shift workers, ensuring workers take their holidays and ensuing noise levels etc. are within tolerances.
- Environment has a huge affect on well-being so think about tidiness, availability of facilities, temperature and lighting are all considered. Some studies show the colours of walls and the introduction of plants into a work environment have a positive effect
- And finally – deal with workers who cause stress for other workers, whether this be under-performance, bullying, frequent absences or negative attitude – they can tip an already-stressed individual over the edge!