January’s ‘Blue Monday’ might be behind us (hooray!) but for those suffering from work-related stress every day can be blue. However, as Karen Roberts explains here, with the right tools and resources workplace stress can be tackled effectively.
Nobody really likes Monday, do they? Dragging yourself out of bed to face another week of work after a nice weekend can be a bit of a struggle. And in January 2018 you had to face five (count ‘em!) Mondays. The good news is that this won’t happen again until April. Not only that, but you’ve also made it past ‘Blue Monday’: the third Monday in January is cited as the most depressing day of the year.
Spare a thought, though, for those who really struggle with Mondays – and every other day for that matter – because of work-related stress. Whether as employers or employees, for some reason we find it a bit difficult to acknowledge that stress is a legitimate illness that can have serious consequences. The symptoms of stress might not be as readily apparent as those of, say, the flu or a stomach bug but the effects of stress on the individual are no less debilitating. And that’s before we consider the negative impact that a stressed workforce can have on a business, and the wider implications this has for the economy. Let’s be clear on this: work-related stress is a big problem that needs to be tackled. Last year alone, it accounted for more than twelve million working days lost in Great Britain.
How to spot the signs of work-related stress
Excessive pressure and demands at work can cause stress. This can lead to chronic physical and mental health conditions. Employers have a legal duty protect their staff from stress by carrying out a risk assessment and acting on it. The thing is, many organisations don’t know how to begin tackling work-related stress.
There are tell-tale signs that could point towards stress in the workplace; for example, an increase in complaints and grievances; higher staff turnover; a drop in business performance and an upturn in sickness absences.
At an individual level, changes in an employee’s behaviour can indicate that they may be suffering from work related stress. You might notice that they take more time off, routinely arrive for work later than they used to, become withdrawn or lose motivation commitment or confidence.
A good place to start is at HSE’s ‘Go Home Healthy’ microsite which provides links to free resources, including the Management Standards approach, and case studies to help you begin managing work-related stress. A range of further guidance and stress management publications including DVDs and poster can be found at HSE Books, where you’ll also find links to HSE’s ‘Stress Series’ professional training courses ( a complete list of the training courses provided by HSE can be found at https://www.hsl.gov.uk/hsl-shop/health-and-safety-training-courses
Introducing… the right tool for the job!
Excuse the shameless plug, but if you suspect there’s a problem with work-related stress in your organisation, I think you’ll want to know about this.If you’re considering implementing the HSE’s Management Standards approach, then our new online Stress Indicator Tool makes it quick and easy to find out the extent to which work-related stress might be a problem.
The SIT (as we like to call it for short) features a survey of thirty-five questions focusing on six key areas of work that, if not managed properly, are known to be potential causes of workplace stress.
Our whizzy new software improves upon HSE’s original paper-based ‘Indicator Tool’ which required manual completion and relied upon Microsoft Excel for its data analysis and results presentation.
The new digital version allows the survey to be accessed and completed online whenever and wherever suits the employee. Not only that, it automates the data analysis and automatically generates reports based on the findings, saving you precious time and administrative burden.
You can use these findings, alongside other data, to develop a risk assessment that’s based on evidence.
Sound interesting? Pop over to our website for more information, where you can also see an example survey and a sample of the kind of report that SIT generates for you. It could be your first step to making Mondays – and every other day for that matter – healthier, less stressful and more productive for everyone.
Do you have any stress related questions, opinions or experiences to share? Please leave us a comment!