Can stress be stamped out of the workplace?

With National Stress Awareness Day coming up on November 6, we recently shared our wellness tips and advice for businesses.

Organised by the International Stress Management Association, the national day aims to raise the profile and achieve publicity for stress. It also looks to promote the importance of wellbeing for individuals and organisations.

According to research, over 11 million days are lost at work each year because of stress at work; with absence in the workplace currently costing the country over £5 billion annually.

And nearly half a million people in the UK have work-related stress at a level that makes them feel ill, says BUPA.

This can be caused by a number of factors; for example an excessive workload or unrealistic deadlines, difficult relationships with colleagues, management style, being unclear about your job role and what you’re meant to do or being in the wrong job for your skills, abilities and expectations.

As well as the recent ‘Britain Get Taking’ ITV campaign and the World Mental Health Day ‘Ed Sheeran and Prince Harry collaboration’; the issue will be highlighted again on the annual National Stress Awareness Day.

From our perspective, at Anne Corder Recruitment wellness in the workplace and creating a positive work environment is key.

Karen Dykes, recruitment partner, said: “As well as affecting individuals, their families and colleagues by impacting on their health, stress in the workplace impacts on employers with costs relating to sickness absence, replacement staff, lost production and increased accidents.

“For us to maintain our wellbeing, noticing what’s making us stressed helps us learn how we can deal with it. This is particularly important in the workplace where stresses of workload and working relationships are common.

“Employers do, however, have a legal duty to protect their workers from stress in the workplace by carrying out a risk assessment and acting on it.”

Stress can be triggered by so many different factors, but industry figures estimate approximately three to five UK workers consider their workloads to be excessive, often with daily struggles to meet deadlines.

Karen added: “People also bring home-related stress into the workplace. Although employers are not legally responsible for stress that originates in the home, well-managed organisations will have arrangements that allow them to address it.

“This might include such things as access to counselling services and tweaking or changing working hours.”

Part of the National Stress Awareness Day campaign is to encourage employers to start the conversation about stress in the workplace through creating a Stress Awareness Space, where staff can share their thoughts and feelings when they are feeling stressed, and support colleagues.

Other wellness tips for businesses:

  • Arrange a regular delivery of fresh fruit
  • Supplement yoga, gym or mindfulness classes
  • Encourage cycle to work initiatives with rewards for a more active commute
  • Introduce flexible working arrangements or remote/home-based working

“Many senior leadership teams have asked for the input of workers to find out what methods would be most effective in reducing stress. Collaborative project teams can prove to be an effective intermediary to hear the issues faced and consider suggestions of stress relieving initiatives that work best for everyone,” added Karen.

For more details about National Stress Awareness Day visit http://nationalstressawarenessday.co.uk/