How to Manage Workplace Stress

Written by blueflogger. Posted in Articles

Published on January 07, 2013 with No Comments

Work-related stress is the biggest reason for absence and it costs the British economy millions each year. With increased pressure on workers due to the effects of the global financial crisis, incidence of stress is on the rise, hence it’s important for businesses to do all they can in mitigating it. It’s a difficult balance for employers to strike: maintaining productivity while ensuring employee well-being.

Young GI models a 'stress ball' at Guantanamo....

Young GI models a ‘stress ball’ at Guantanamo. :Original caption: :”Pfc. Leslee Fong holds a stress ball given to her by members of the Joint Stress Mitigation and Restoration Team (JSMART), Dec. 21, 2010. JSMART’s mission is to provide outreach and stress prevention for all Troopers during their deployment. -photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Elisha Dawkins” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fortunately, there are methods that employers can use to reduce the risk of stress and most of them are simple. By adopting some of the following, you could significantly decrease the impact of stress on your workforce:

Lack of communication is one of the biggest sources of unhappiness in the office, according to a recent report, thus it stands to reason that speaking to your staff will have a positive effect. Much stress is caused by not knowing what’s going on; anxiety due to fear about job security. Therefore keeping your staff informed about wider organisational matters, particularly during a restructure, is extremely important.

On an individual level, it’s a good idea to find time for one-to-ones. This gives you the chance to discuss any issues or determine whether there are any difficulties. It provides a ‘safe’ forum through which an employee can broach the subject of feeling over-loaded or out of control. That way, the issue can be dealt with before it escalates into long-term stress.

Log Absence More Efficiently
It may well be that a member of staff has been taking copious amounts of sickness absence due to stress, but inefficient processes have prevented this being logged and consequently flagged. That’s why it’s important to make use of innovations in HR software to streamline and improve the collation of data that could highlight a problem.

stress head

stress head (Photo credit: ian boyd)

Comprehensive HR software will allow managers or HR staff to generate absence reports easily and quickly, so it will be simple to spot any patterns or worrying trends.

Encourage A ‘Switch Off’ Environment
Stressed individuals may well be those who are putting in the longest hours in the office. They might also log on to their emails when they get home, all because they cannot cope with their workload and the demands placed on them by the business. Managers have an obligation to quash this behaviour and instill in staff a ‘switch off’ mentality which means that once they leave the office, they don’t log on again.

Presenteeism has been mistakenly accepted as a way to demonstrate dedication, especially when jobs are at risk. However, companies should take pains to discourage this, as a means to keep staff healthy and ensure they receive sufficient rest.

Flexible Working
Many people are stressed before they even reach the office. This could be due to the trials and tribulations associated with commuting or worry over childcare. Offering people the opportunity for flexible working could therefore alleviate some of these triggers and reduce pressure.

Languid teeth

Languid teeth (Photo credit: DanR)

Implementing flexible working – via a robust, defined policy – could allow employees to define their own hours, perhaps working in the evenings once children are in bed or choose their own location. It is a perk which a huge proportion of employees value enormously. It also helps maintain a healthy work-life balance, which can mitigate work-related stress.

With so much pressure piled onto our shoulders at the moment, it’s little wonder that so many feel a little out of control, however, by taking the above into consideration, employers should be able to better manager workplace stress.

About the author:

Finley Talbot is a student pursuing a post graduate course in human resource management in the UK and likes to keep himself updated with everything related to human resources. In his spare time, you will either find him writing articles about various things that inspire him about HR or catching up with friends.

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