How to manage stress at work

Recent research by the CIPD reveals that not only is stress the number one cause of long-term sickness absence, but that management style can also contribute to work-related stress. To help raise awareness of this issue, the CIPD has launched a free stress management tool, developed in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive, which is designed to help managers better understand how their behaviours and actions affect others.

Stress is a major cause of lost productivity and is linked to a higher risk of accidents at work. In addition, prolonged exposure to stress is also linked to conditions such as depression and anxiety and increased risk of heart disease. The tool, which is available on the CIPD website, also provides learning materials to help HR practitioners to support managers to manage their staff in ways that prevent and reduce stress in their teams.

Dr Mark Winwood, director of psychological services, AXA PPP healthcare, believes stress and work don’t have to be synonymous and has the following five Top Tips to also help managers manage stress at work:

1. Talk!

All too frequently employers hope that, if they ignore the issue, it will in some way disappear. Sadly the reverse is true. Make sure that psychological wellbeing is on your organisation’s agenda.

2. Take a look at your organisational culture

A task focused, long hours culture with low support for staff is not going to make problems better. Consider undertaking an employee health and wellbeing audit to highlight negative issues and hot spots within the business.

3. Develop a stress policy

Provide a clear statement on dealing with stress as part of your overall health and safety or wellbeing policy. This can include guidelines for managers on how to identify and support employees with mental health issues including stress.

4. Educate managers

Employers should ensure line managers receive adequate training in identifying common and support to develop a management style that motivates and encourages good employee engagement rather than one that causes stress. Ensure line managers are aware of the common causes of workplace stress, how to identify it in others and themselves and above all how to prevent it and support those who may experience it.

5. Use your employee assistance program

Encourage employees to make use of the EAP, and managers to make appropriate referrals for support. An effectively run EAP can support your existing HR and OH resources and provide ways of enabling employees to deal more effectively with the pressures in their lives.

By The Healthy Business Blog

From… AXA PPP Healthcare

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