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How do you prevent stress in the workplace?
A recent article published by the CIPD states that ‘UK employees spend more than a third of their time at work feeling stressed’. This worrying article highlights to us again that the dreaded stress is just not being dealt with.
Duty of care
As an employer, you have a duty of care to your employees. This includes managing any risks with health and safety generally, and also understanding the levels of stress in the workplace. Some levels of stress in the workplace are quite normal, particularly in the care sector with the needs of clients, patients and residents ever-changing.
Unfortunately, there can be occasions when the stress just takes over and day to day operational duties become too much. Would you really know the signs of a stressed employee? How would you manage the situation?
Combatting workplace stress
Here are some useful tips that you may find helpful in preventing stress in the workplace:
- Act today – if you suspect an employee is stressed, talk to them; don’t allow the problem to escalate.
- Get to know your teams - what makes them tick. By doing this it will be apparent if they have a sudden change in attitude.
- Listen to your employees and to the problems they may be encountering; you may have to work on problems together.
- Ensure your employees take sufficient breaks during the day and their annual leave.
- Encourage communication in the workplace - stress levels will be reduced if employees feel they can talk to colleagues.
- Recruit the right person with the right skills to do the job.
- Don't try to control the uncontrollable - unfortunately some things are out of anyone's control; we have to accept this and move on.
- Identify training needs of your teams and, once identified, provide the training.
As we know, the costs incurred through employee absence is particularly expensive, and with the growing problem of stress, we need to manage this effectively. Rather than trying to shy away from the matter, take it head on and act, as this is key to workforce productivity.
Anita Manfredi of Employer Solutions – QCS HR Expert Contributor