Stress in the workplace is no secret. A majority of workers report feeling moderate or high levels of stress on the job and the issue has been gaining international attention.

What is Workplace Stress?

Stress occurs when pressures become sustained and excessive. Prolonged levels of stress are a concern for both the individual and the organisation as a whole. Stress becomes a problem for employees when they are presented with demands that exceed their knowledge, abilities and capacity to cope. Stressed employees may suffer recognised clinical problems such as anxiety, depression and associated sleep loss, and the resulting effects can damage an organisation on many levels.

Stress can cause serious health implications, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep problems, anxiety, irritability/anger, depression & loss of or increase in appetite

Is Stress Affecting Your Business?

To get a sense of stress levels in your organisation assessing your employees’ wellbeing. Managers should maintain regular contact with their employees and identify opportunities to engage with employees who are struggling. One or more of the following could be signs that an employee is under stress levels that require intervention:

Frequent absences
Low engagement
Significant changes in mood or disposition
Frequent workplace accidents
Impaired or lowered productivity

If there are marked changes in attendance, performance levels, mood or energy, managers should approach the employee in private and ask if they are experiencing problems and offer to help.

Tips to Deal with Workplace Stress

Stress becomes a problem when it is prolonged or unmanaged. Employers can play an important role in preventing this by providing employees with tools and resources to help them cope, and by:

  1. Encouraging healthy lifestyles, activity and exercise at work and home
  2. Respecting employees’ personal time outside of work
  3. Monitoring engagement, sickness absence levels, staff turnover and accidents
  4. Providing a sensible balance between work and life responsibilities
  5. Creating a culture where mental health and safety are discussed to reduce the stigma

Every business has to deal with stress in the workplace, but it’s how you help your employees deal with stress and build resilience that makes a difference.

For further support & advice contact EAP Assist.