In 2011/2012 stress was attributed to 40% of all work related illness.  This stress is defined as “a harmful reaction that people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work”.  Being able to reduce stress and to recognise stressed employees is critical to ensuring the wellbeing of your workforce and maintaining a happy and productive business.

WORK RELATED STRESS STATISTICS

Below are some statistics from a report published by Health And Safety Executive.

The occupations with the highest estimated prevalence rate of work-related stress in GB, averaged over the last three years (2009/10 – 2011/12) were as follows;

As you can see form the above statistics, stress related illness has a huge effect on your business, and the UK economy as a whole.  In order to reduce stress in the workplace there are a number of actions that can be made, both by the individual and by the business:

HOW CAN AN INDIVIDUAL REDUCE STRESS

HOW CAN A BUSINESS REDUCE STRESS WITHIN THE WORKFORCE

  • Support – open door policies, enabling your employees to speak openly and honestly will build trust.  If an employee needs to speak to their manager, trust will be less of a barrier.
  • Environment – creating a nicer environment at work can be as simple as placing some house plants around the office, trying to be more positive in front of your employees or sharing company success stories.
  • Workload – ensure that employees are not overloaded with work.
  • Socialise – Social clubs and events will enable staff to socialise and communicate more freely, both in and out of the office.
  • Eyes open – knowing the signs of a stressed individual can enable you to talk to the employee, advise them, and in certain instances resolve their problem.

SYMPTOMS OF WORK RELATED STRESS

As mentioned previously, knowing, and spotting, the signs of stress in the office is crucial to your employees wellbeing and potentially reducing the need for absence. Some of the symptoms common to stress are:

  • Feeling anxious, irritable, or depressed
  • Apathy, loss of interest in work
  • Problems sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Muscle tension or headaches
  • Stomach problems
  • Social withdrawal
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope
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