Managing Stress │ Health and Safety
Managing Stress │ Health and Safety
In this month’s update, our H&S Consultant, Colin Jones discusses the importance of managing workplace stress in your business.
“A Legal Duty to Protect Workers from Stress at Work”
It goes without saying that for the majority of the working population, there seems to be a cautious optimism now that we seem to be coming out of the pandemic and the lifting of restrictions.
That said, I believe more than ever we need to be more aware of the potential impact from the impact the pandemic and the life-changing things we have all had to cope with.
Anyone who has experienced stress in their lives will tell you that during the actual stressful time, you learn to cope and are able to function. However, after the event, that is when symptoms of stress present themselves. This can be both physical and mental and is so hard to manage.
As an employer, you have a legal duty to protect workers from stress at work. Yes, granted recent events don’t put the blame on employers for what we have experienced but it would be irresponsible of any employer not to recognise their ongoing duty and more than ever before, assess who are those most vulnerable and those most exposed to stress and extra steps that may be needed first to understand how employees actually are feeling and putting practical measures in place.
As an employer, you need to consider 6 main areas of work design that can affect stress levels. Those areas are:
- Demands – this includes issues such as workload, work patterns and the work environment
- Control – how much say the person has in the way they do their work
- Support – this includes the encouragement, sponsorship and resources provided by the organisation, line management and colleagues
- Relationships – this includes promoting positive working to avoid conflict and dealing with unacceptable behaviour
- Role – whether people understand their role within the organisation and whether the organisation ensures that they do not have conflicting roles
- Change – how organisational change (large or small) is managed and communicated in the organisation
Having facilities or at the very least, processes and people skilled in recognizing the early signs of stress are important.
Given that many employers and business owners have adopted a work from home or a flexible hybrid model of working for some people, this does not mean they are free from workplace stress. If anything it can add another layer of stress you may not be aware of. What is their home environment like? Are they having to stretch their working days to accommodate family life? Are they needing to catch up at weekends to meet Demands? Have the Changes that have been enforced, are they putting an extra burden and has this been communicated effectively?
The Main Cause of Workplace Illness
Regardless of industry, one of the main causes of workplace illness is attributed to, stress, depression and anxiety. The last statics showed the level of absenteeism for these reasons stood at 51%!
It cannot be ignored nor can we sit back and wait for what could be a potential mental health pandemic.
Take the necessary steps now to ensure you know how things are, assess what needs to happen and put those practical measures in place to manage it. Precaution is better than cure and it is proven time and time again that if employees feel valued and feel their needs are being taken seriously, they will come forward and their situation can be dealt with, without too much disruption or absence which can only be a positive outcome for all concerned.
Whether stress has been brought about from work or a combination of work and home life. As part of your duty, you can signpost your employees to support and even treatment if necessary to help with managing stress.
HPC Can Help
If you employ 5 or more employees, you must carry out a risk assessment and outline control measures to reduce the risk of stress at work.
Now more than ever before with increased hybrid and remote working, employers must ensure they are doing all they can to ensure stress is managed effectively.
Our team here at HPC are committed to helping your business support its employees and keep them safe. That is why we offer expert advice and guidance on handling situations of employee workplace stress, and our highly qualified team of H&S professionals are here to help you complete a Stress Risk Assessment in your business.
As an employer, you have a legal duty to keep your employees safe, if you would like to discuss ways to protect your staff from workplace stress, get in contact with our team of experts today.
T: 0844 800 5932