Stress is a common type of workplace hazard that can cause harm to your employees, and is your responsibility as an employer.
Dr Christine Maingard, specialist in the learning and customer service field, recently said in HR Magazine that “there is now solid evidence that stress has become the number one cause of workplace absenteeism and employee disengagement.
Workplace wellness may well have come of age but it still is only a small percentage of employers that address stress concerns effectively; that is, taking strong action to deal with both the root causes and the symptoms”.
And what are the reasons behind stress? The recent downsizing and restructuring of small, medium and large organisations has had a dramatic impact on workforce wellbeing and stress resistance.
A paper by Professor Michael Quinlan discusses the serious risk of the recent economic crisis to employees’ health. He reports that middle-aged managers and professionals find the combination of job strain (the imbalance between demands and control at work) and job insecurity – both characteristic effects of downsizing – result in higher odds of mental health problems, such as stress.
Further studies, comparing the health impact of job insecurity to job insecurity that results from poor health, found the former to be by far the dominant effect.
The key element in stress management is taking steps to prevent shudders in employers at the simple mention of work related stress. Some of the actions include:
If stress is reported despite the preventive actions, workplace stress should be managed in the same way as any other workplace hazard and as stated in the Australian Code of Practice 2008.
Sources: Human Capital Magazine, healthyworkmatter.co.uk
1. Try to keep an eye on absenteeism and persistent lateness.
2. Monitor the morale of your staff by spending time in the kitchen at lunch time or by simply walking around the office.
3. Encourage work flexibility and give your employees a sense of ownership of their work.
4. Make sure the office offers a healthy environment with clean air, good lighting, appropriate temperature, and comfortable level of noise.
5. Encourage communication with your staff and initiate the conversation around stress at work.
6. If and when possible, you may want to consider carrying out regular risk assessments to monitor stress risks factors.
7. Implement a health or wellness program for your staff including anti-stress components as well as other health initiatives.
For more information on Stress Management in The Workplace contact Healthworks on 1300 90 10 90 (International: IDD 61-2-9954-1888 ) and be sure to quote: “post116” for eligibility of Healthworks latest online offers and Corporate Health initiatives.