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  • How to tackle stress in the workplace

    Created: 10/04/2023
    News/Events Category: General News

    April is Stress Awareness month, a timely reminder to reach out and have a conversation about stress and mental health where you work. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Working Minds has written this important article that can help get started with combating stress by following 5 simple steps: Reach out; Recognise; Respond; Reflect; Make it Routine.

    HSE article:

    There are 6 key areas of work design that, if not properly managed, are associated with poor health, lower productivity and increased accident and sickness absence rates. One of those is demands...

    Demands of the job include workload, work patterns, and the work environment. When going well, staff are able to cope with the demands of their jobs and their concerns are responded to.

    When it’s not going well, staff may feel unable to cope and start to feel and show signs of stress. If people start acting differently, it can be a sign they are stressed.

    Look out for:

    • arguments in the team

    • more sickness absence

    • decreased performance

    • heightened emotions

    • loss of motivation, commitment or confidence.

    Stress affects people differently – what stresses one person may not affect another. Factors like skills and experience, age or disability may all affect whether a worker can cope.

    Staff should be provided with an achievable workload in relation to the hours and working patterns that they work, and their skills and abilities should be matched to the job. This means organisations need to consider policies and systems to support individual needs.

    Here are a few ideas on how to do so:

    • hold regular meetings, both with individuals and as a team, to discuss anticipated workloads (and to deal with any predicted busy times);

    • develop a system to notify staff of unplanned tight deadlines and any exceptional need to work long hour;

    • allow regular breaks, especially when the work is complex or emotionally demanding; and

    • consider flexible working such as changes to start and end times or working from home to help staff cope with pressures outside work, like caring responsibilities, childcare or commuting.

    Reach out and signpost support

    If you think that a worker needs help, encourage them to talk to someone.

    Whether it’s their line manager, trade union representative, GP or their occupational health team if available, reaching out is the first step.

    Here are some useful links:

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