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Annie Hayes



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Stress busting tips: The top ten


Pulling your hair out and guzzling another headache bill won’t tackle the longer-term issues associated with stress a problem that may be more readily felt at this time of year as the summer officially closes and the conference season gears up putting further pressures on HR professionals.

And managing the problem can be an even bigger issue for HR staff who are often responsible for ensuring that the issue doesn’t get out of hand. Read these top tips for employers looking to minimize the risks:

  • 1. Check that you have systems in place to help people who think they’re beginning to suffer from stress. Who can they turn to? Is their privacy guaranteed? Are they likely to be heard? The Health and Safety Executive recommend that a risk sssessment is carried out to help you identify both actual and potential problems.
  • 2. Show that you’re aware of the problem by talking to staff and getting their views – you might even use a questionnaire to find out what the stressors might be.
  • 3. Encourage managers to have the same attitude – to show that they’re open to employee concerns and will listen attentively, and privately, to any issues that arise.
  • 4. Make sure that your staff are sufficiently well-trained to do the jobs that they’re doing, and that they’re actually in the right jobs. Control over their work and clarity about what they’re supposed to be doing is essential to reduce stress in employees.
  • 5. Encourage a good work-life balance. Spending too much time at work, or thinking about work, doesn’t give people the opportunity to relax.
  • 6. Make sure that you’re communicating effectively with your staff. For example, lack of information about changes that are going to take place can make some people feel uneasy and thus increase their stress.
  • 7. Involve your staff as much as possible in any improvements or changes that you want to make in your systems or procedures. They will often know the best way to implement these changes anyway, so including them in the decision-making process increases their sense of control and should ensure the changes stick.
  • 8. Where possible, provide flexibility in the jobs that people do – either to do things differently, or to do different things.
  • 9. Where an employee seems to be suffering from stress, encourage them to see their doctor. Brushing it aside and hoping it will get better won’t work! Nor will getting rid of the individual, solve the problem if it’s endemic to the workplace.
  • 10. Finally, accept the fact that stress is a real issue in the workplace and that it can lead to thousands of hours of downtime if not tackled. You have a legal responsibility as an employer to ensure that staff do not become ill by the work they do. If you act responsibly and with compassion you can reduce or eliminate the risks of stress and ensure that your company continues to function effectively.

The Department of Work & Pensions estimates that between 70% and 80% of absenteeism is stress-related.

These stress tips are brought to you by Academee learning solutions.

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Annie Hayes


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