April is Stress Awareness month, designed to bring to the fore the causes and cures for the modern day stress-epidemic. Managing stress in the workplace should be a priority for employers for many reasons, which we know that you know, so we’ll get straight to it. Here are some of the common stress related questions we are asked by clients and the HR industry, and some practical steps you can take to help your employees suffering with stress.
If you’d like more help to support your employees, please don’t hesitate to speak to a member of our team.
What signs should I look out for that may indicate one of my team is suffering from stress?
Changes in mood, behaviour, physical health or productivity might indicate that someone is suffering from stress. If you suspect this is the case, explain that you have noticed some changes and encourage the employee to talk to you.
Be sure to highlight that you want to support them. Encourage them to take breaks and take care of themselves and provide them with details of resources and support available.
What should I do if an employee says they are suffering from work related stress?
If the employee is feeling overwhelmed by a deadline, you may need to extend the deadline or provide additional help. If the stress appears to be wider than that, it may be appropriate to ask them to complete a Wellbeing Action Plan to identify and support early resolution of any issues and find creative solutions. You can download a free Wellbeing Action Plan from our resource hub here.
If you are concerned about the employee’s wellbeing, then an Occupational Health Report may be required to identify whether there is a health issue which needs to be considered.
It might be necessary to redistribute some work, provide more flexibility or make other changes to their working arrangements.
What should I do if an employee is absent due to stress, and feels too overwhelmed to participate in any meetings or discussions with the Company?
It may be that a reasonable time period is needed for the employee to feel well enough to engage in any processes. If this becomes extended, you may need to obtain advice from a medical professional or Occupational Health about the employee’s fitness to participate in any process. You may also need to take legal advice if you are considering progressing any process which may impact their employment. Drop us a line here if you need support in this area.
How can managers prevent stress in the workplace?
- Create a supportive work environment. This means providing employees with the resources and support they need to do their jobs effectively. It also means creating a culture where employees feel comfortable talking about stress and seeking help when they need it.
- Encourage employees to take breaks and not work excessive hours. This will help them to avoid burnout and stay refreshed and productive.
- Offer flexible work arrangements which can help employees to better manage their work-life balance and reduce stress levels.
- Carry out risk assessments to identify potential stressors within roles and working patterns and take action to eliminate / minimise these wherever possible.
- Provide access to Employee Assistance Programmes and other resources to support employee wellbeing.
- Provide training on stress management and coping skills. This can help employees to identify and manage stress in their own lives.
- Be proactive in addressing stress-related issues. If you see an employee who is struggling with stress, talk to them and offer your support.
- Take care of yourself! Make sure to take care of yourself so that you can be the best possible leader and role model.
And finally, take a look at the Bupa business toolkit for managing stress in the workplace, there are some great resources that can help you hit the ground running.