Is stress increasing or are we getting better at spotting it?

The BBC has found that stress days taken in one hospital have increased by 450% in 5 years, to put that in another way; if this was an investment like a property of £100,000 that home would now be worth £450,000! This would certainly raise eyebrows (and probably some champagne glasses) if it was my example, however are we taking as much care to look into why such a rise has happened in the first place?

It could be that more people are identifying stress as a factor as opposed to the symptoms of stress, in HR it is hard to tackle these issues, where do you start? If an employee isn’t telling you they are stressed, if they are taking the odd sick day but say “it’s just a cold” or a “24 hour bug” they could be masking the real reason for the leave.

A way of combatting this is by using an absence management system, with this you can see who has been absent, the reasons given, and if there are any patterns in this absenteeism. By using such a system it can be possible to detect these issues early and talk in an informal way with the employee to see if the company can be doing anything more to help.

So when thinking of tackling stress in your workplace make sure you have the tools available to spot absenteeism early and you have the right sort of intervention with an employee so you don’t make the situation worse.

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