Not all stress is bad. Some stress, controlled and minimal, can actually spur us on to greater things. It can help us meet that deadline, or take the step we have always needed to…

BUT, there is a darker side to stress and it is rife in modern Britain. It is when stress becomes too much; what can seem like a little nudge in the right direction can, all of a sudden, snowball into something gargantuan, a monster out of control.

Stress comes in all shapes and sizes, as well as from all kinds and unlikeliest of places. What can be stress inducing in one person, is not in another. How one person shows stress is far different to how another person will.

Work is a common trigger for stress and, as an employer, you have just as much responsibility as your employee to manage stress; with 13.3 million working days lost to stress in Britain each year, it is in everyone’s interest to keep stress as a minimum. Chair massage can help employees to relieve some of the physical and emotional impact of stress but, failing to deal with the root cause can often mean that your business is missing out…

Person pulling heavy load

 Common causes of stress at work

The reasons why people become stress can vary significantly but, common causes include:

  • The demands of the job can be too much to cope or deal with
  • The lack of control that some employees feel that they have over their workload
  • The support (or perceived lack of) that employees feel they do or don’t get from managers and colleagues
  • Relationships in the work place can cause stress
  • Their role within the organisation
  • Change within the organisation and how it is managed

The impact of stress on absenteeism is now becoming better documented and this in large part, is due to the fact that stress is no longer a wishy-washy ‘condition’ that is swept under the carpet. Many employers and colleagues, however, have been slow to change their negative attirude towards stress… until it happens to them.

Looking after your work force

Stress IS a major issue for employers in all kinds of organisation, across all industries and sectors in the UK. The fact that it now appears to be on the increase is not only indicative that stress of being recognised more, but also that as employees, there are more stress factors placed on them. Having people absent for prolonged periods of times can cause havoc throughout an organisation, often placing colleagues under increased stress too.

Recognising and stopping this downward spiral is important with stress causing many complications for a business;

  • Absence due to sick leave has a huge impact on both large corporations, and small, fledgling businesses
  • Productivity and revenue can therefore, be lost
  • A culture of absenteeism can be created but also the reverse, when people come in to work when they are ‘in no fit state’
  • Motivation decreases
  • Stress can also place pressure of relationships between colleagues, especially those who feel they ‘carry the can’, the burden and responsibility when people are off due to stress
  • Stress is not contagious as such but, it can create a domino effect
  • Well-being of staff is undoubtedly affected
  • Exhaustion and burn out are common in high stress ‘industries’, such as teaching, nursing etc.
  • Staff turnover can increase as employees seek less-stressful employment elsewhere
  • Some firms have also been sued by former employees for failing to protect their physical or mental health as their stress was not acknowledge or dealt with; in some cases, it was made worse

Dealing with stress at work

As an employer, you have both a moral and legal responsibility to look after your employees. And stress is one of those things that needs to be dealt with. There are long term solutions that need to be addressed, from the work environment to training, identifying where pressure comes from and reducing etc. there are also some other interesting ways of dealing with stress;

  • Stress management workshops are increasingly popular as stress, in the main, cannot often be avoided
  • Ensuring staff are taking their full holiday quota
  • Making sure that their work is done whilst they are on holiday!
  • Having an awareness of workloads
  • Introducing modern thinking and ways of tackling stress such as the provision of onsite massage

Stress must be dealt with; how does your company deal with stressed employees?