Work-Related Stress

08 January 2021

It’s only natural that employers would want their employees’ working hours to be as stress-free as possible.

Work-related stress leave can be harmful to employee mental health. And stress claims can slow a workforce down dramatically.

There are employment laws in place to deal with stress management and work-related stress in Ireland.

Employees can turn to the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 for help with stress in the workplace.

People with excessive stress can experience ‘substantial and long-term adverse effects.’

Ignoring an employee who is suffering from work-related stress can result in a personal injury claim.

Health and safety executives can help make changes to your workplace. Speak to HR to discuss reducing the stress at work.

These adjustments can vary depending on how a company’s human resources team chooses to handle an employee’s work-related stress.

One solution for employers is to offer employees a period of work-related stress leave in Ireland.

The causes of stress in the workplace

Questions often arise when considering work-related stress claims in Ireland. Some may think that there are specific, location-based laws in place for handling stress at work.

For example, some questions include “what counts as stress in the workplace in Ireland?”

And would the answer be the same as “what counts as stress in the workplace” in the UK or other jurisdictions for instance?

Work-related stress can arise in various ways:

  • Workplace demands: many workplace demands can be stressful. This can include increased seasonal work or a lack of supporting co-workers.
  • Feeling underpaid: Most employees would say that they’d like a higher salary, but some may feel underpaid for their services.
  • Fear of job security: Uncertain times, such as the coronavirus pandemic, can make employees feel unsure of the safety of their position.
  • Lack of control in the workplace: It's expected that employees work under their superiors. But, some feel that they have little to authority or respect in their role.
  • Results-driven goals: Sales-based jobs often classify success by achieving high or hard to meet goals. Consistently missing these goals can be an incredible blow to morale.
  • Lack of training for position or role: Rushing into a role or being quickly promoted without adequate training can be problematic. Not understanding how to perform certain tasks or constantly having to ask for help can be stressful.
  • Workplace relationships: Not all workplaces are incredibly social. However, sometimes tensions can run high or personalities can clash, causing stress.

Less location-based questions include “is there any risk to job security for taking time off work for stress?”

The answer to that question can only be answered on a case by case basis.

If an employee takes leave for stress reasons, when they return to work, ensure that you discuss ways to combat stress in your workplace. This will help prevent any work-related stress leave in the future.

How to deal with stress at work

Stress at work can strike unexpectedly. This is why should you understand the common causes of stress in the workplace. You and your human resources team can create action plans that reduce stress and help employees who may be feeling stressed.

Risk assessments will help identify any potential stressful situations. They can pre-emptively deal with stress claims.

Before utilising risk assessments, you can introduce work-related stress reduction methods:

  • Establish workplace boundaries: This includes knowing where and when work takes place. Being aware of breaks staff can take and what time to stop working.
  • Don’t rely on unhealthy responses: It can be easy to rely on comfort eating at the office, or drinking alcohol at home. Try not to rely on these unhealthy responses. Encourage staff to try exercise or yoga to relieve tensions and stress.
  • Ensure staff get enough sleep: A lack of sleep can cause many health issues. Including damaging mental health.
  • Schedule meaningful time off: It can be beneficial to take a few days off at a time or a long weekend. However, it may be more beneficial to set apart more holiday days for a lengthy amount of time off. This can provide staff with adequate time to recharge.
  • Talk to your staff: You can't solve a problem if you don't address it. Encourage staff to discuss their work-related stress issues with their supervisor or manager. This way you can work together to combat stress in the workplace.

Benefit employees by reducing work-related stress

It’s important for both employees and employers to work together when reducing stress in the workplace.

Engage in a dialogue to help establish how both employee and employer can reduce stress and create a better workplace for everyone.

Peninsula offers unlimited 24-hour HR advice to assist this process. Our expert team can assist your HR department with any work-related stress concerns.

Peninsula’s Employee Assistance Programme can also help with work-related stress.

Our confidential and compassionate support network is available 24/7. They provide support to both employees and employers. 

To learn more, speak with our friendly specialists today on 0818 923 923

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