In 2016 Business in the Community (BIC) undertook the largest survey ever of mental wellbeing at work. They cited the following, ‘One in four people will experience a mental health problem. At any point one in six of the working age population is suffering from a mental health condition. Last year stress accounted for 43% of all working days lost due to ill health and for 34% of all work-related ill health cases, yet 95% of employees cited a reason other than workplace stress for their absence due to stigma.’*
We wrote about the effects of stress in the work place several years ago and with the issues back in the spotlight felt it was time to re-visit the issues.
Apart from productivity, the cumulative effects of stress related issues for employers can cause huge losses in all areas that include recruitment costs, wages bills, lost days and management time.
With figures rising and a fine line between what starts as stress and can end in mental health difficulties, business leaders such as the BIC are working to highlight the importance of supporting staff during these times.
Many employees will experience some form of stress at work which may or may not be work related. For businesses however whether the stress is caused by internal or external factors it is still an issue that they have to manage.
Some of the typical causes of stress at work are:-
- Bullying or harassment.
- Lack of job security.
- Long working hours.
- Office politics and conflict among staff.
- Continuous performance demands.
These can be exacerbated by a person’s susceptibility to stress and dependent on their tolerance levels, but personality, childhood experiences and genetics will play a part as well as health concerns, lifestyle and personal relationships. It is therefore unhelpful to dismiss stress in others because the factors that cause it are considerably diverse.
Whatever the factors are that trigger stress, it is helpful to recognise and take some responsibility for it by organising and prioritising work or supporting employees to do the same.
What you can do....
- Prioritise tasks or break large projects into smaller tasks.
- Delegate! Don’t try and do everything yourself, by letting go you can alleviate some of the stress and empower others at the same time by giving the responsibility.
- Be willing or try compromising with others, finding a middle ground could reduce the stress for everyone.
- Improving communication with employees and keeping them aware of changes reduces concerns about jobs.
- Regular employee appraisals will help with defining roles and responsibilities and gives employees a chance to discuss any issues.
- Consulting, praising, rewarding and providing training and promoting entrepreneurial ideas in your workforce will all contribute to minimising stress levels.
The BIC has partnered with Public Health England and produced an on-line toolkit to help all organisations in supporting the health and well-being of its employees. You can download it for free at http://wellbeing.bitc.org.uk/all-resources/toolkits/mental-health-employers