Workplace stress is a serious employment issue that affects productivity, efficiency, profit and staff turnover. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 105 million days are lost to workplace stress every year, which costs UK employers over £1 billion annually.
“Under The Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999, employers are required to carry out a risk assessment to identify what the health and safety hazards are and take practical steps to address them”, explains Charlotte Gallagher of P3 People Management, in Hale. “A ‘competent person’ needs to be appointed who is responsible/trained in health and safety within businesses of all sizes”.
“Stress becomes a factor when individuals don’t have the support, training/experience, physical or emotional capacity, or time to cope with workplace demands. Ineffective management style, an organisational restructure and poor working relationships all have a huge impact in the workplace.
There are also personal situations such as financial problems, divorce and family difficulties that also contribute”. Charlotte continues: “If individuals experience stress for a sustained amount of time, they are more likely to develop physical and psychological illnesses”.
Physical Effects of Stress
• Increased blood pressure and heart rate
• Gastrointestinal problems
• Skin complaints
• Weak immune system
• Problems sleeping
• Appetite changes
Psychological Consequences of Stress
• Difficulty concentrating
• Loss of memory
• Feeling exhausted and drained
• Lack of sound judgement
• Irritability and anxiety
• Feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness and isolation
• Poor decision-making
The understanding, prevention and management of workplace stress are key to ensuring the well-being of staff; tackling long-term absenteeism; meeting time, cost and quality targets; and improving overall business performance.
“It’s key for a business to implement a long-term commitment and clear policies to tackle this issue, provide the necessary resources and supportive work culture, and reduce stressors with an early-intervention approach”, Charlotte concludes.
Enabling employees to work flexibly encourages a better work-life balance and improves their health and well-being. There are many benefits to the business also: meeting customer requirements and peaks in demand, increases competiveness, and recognition as a company with an emphasis on staff welfare.
If you would like professional advice and help in tackling and managing stress in your organisation, P3 People Management can provide information and support for business owners and management teams. Please call 0161 941 2426 or visit their website for more information.