The importance of identifying workplace stress.

David Price – CEO of Health Assured

June 26 2015

It’s a positive sign that stress levels in the workplace have fallen significantly in recent years, however there is always more we can do as employers to support our employees - monitoring and managing stress is key. Employers have a legal obligation to ensure the welfare of their employees and this of course also includes mental wellbeing, however employees can also help themselves. Individuals are very reluctant to admit that they are stressed at work out of fear of getting into trouble or appearing incapable to colleagues, but it is very important that they speak up. They need to find someone that they trust, such as a friendly colleague or a line manager.  The thought of not being able to speak with someone when stressed will certainly add to their burden, so ensure that all staff are aware of line management that they can speak in confidence. This is where an Employee Assistance Programme helps, as it allows the individual to have a confidential channel in which to discuss issues. Leaving a stressful issue to fester without action can have a long term impact on both the employee and the employer, it can lead to long term absenteeism and it becomes more difficult to encourage the employee back to work. To identify stress, look for a change in employee behaviour. The employee concerned may well be quiet or isolated. Productivity may be impacted and the employee may act differently with other members of staff, these can all be indications that the employee is suffering with stress. As an employer you should actively monitor workloads to spot who is/isn’t contributing, regularly speak with staff to ensure that they can manage tasks and duties set. Undertake a staff survey to look at the personal opinions of employees and determine whether they are happy at work, this will also outline areas of concern and provide you with an opportunity to change or make improvements. It is fair to say that if you are not aware that your employees are stressed then there is not much you can do to alter the situation, however your obligation to their welfare means that you have a duty to regularly check whether or not wellbeing is satisfactory. For further information and clarification please contact Health Assured on 0808 278 8345.

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