Workplace stress still a real issue for UK business

One in four employees experiencing Workplace Stress issues, say leading Wellness Experts

As many as one in four people calling a national employee assistance helpline say that workplace stress lies at the root of their problem.

That’s the worrying statistic revealed by corporate wellbeing specialist Workplace Wellness today, to coincide with National Stress Awareness Day, which took place on 4th November.

The employee health and wellbeing company, which was recently acquired by RehabWorks, has seen first-hand through their Employee Assistance Programme how stress levels have risen alongside greater day-to-day demands in and out of the workplace.

Jayne Carrington, Customer and Propositions Director, believes the statistics bear out the importance of employers doing more to help their staff. She says business owners have a duty to help employees prevent and cope with workplace stress in all its forms.

She said:

Many employees calling us are deeply concerned about the uncertainty around their job prospects and the impact this would have on their family. Or they are faced by increasing workloads and targets set by employers who are often expecting staff to do more with less. It is imperative employers consider the true value of employee wellbeing. The benefits to staff are clear and a healthy and productive workforce means a healthy business and bottom line.

When not dealt with properly, stress can lead to poor sleeping habits, ongoing fatigue, low energy levels, low nutrition intake and low levels of physical activity – which could all impact on productivity and an under-performing workforce.

While calling on employers to do more to prevent the problems, Jayne believes individuals themselves must also be wary of the warning signs and develop coping strategies.

She explained:

Employees do have a responsibility to look at how they can manage their stress, be more resilient in challenging times and adopt behavioural and lifestyle changes to reduce any workplace pressures.

While employers who want to increase productivity, innovation and morale among their workforce should engage in intervention and wellbeing programmes to ensure that their employees get the support and guidance they need at the right time.

Organisations and individuals must work together to recognise both potential and existing problems and take steps to prevent and manage stress in the workplace.

Petaurum Solutions’ Comment

So what is stress?  According to Google, it’s “the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental and emotional responses. Stress is a normal part of life”.

Whilst employers may only feel any responsibility for stress that arises from the workplace, it’s true to say that non-work related stress can have an equally big impact on performance.  So what can you do about it?

Getting the balance right between driving performance and managing workload is a difficult task, which can be made even harder if fellow employees and managers are not equipped to identify and address the early signs of stress.  Creating an environment where performance is key but employees feel supported is critical, as is training managers and employees to identify the early signs of stress and provide a support structure to deal with these.

Too few employers understand what stress is, how it affects people, or how to identify and manage it. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued useful public health guidance on ‘Promoting mental wellbeing at work’, which can be found online.

At Petaurum Solutions, not only do we have extensive experience in developing healthy performance cultures within businesses, but also we have developed our Employee Benefit Schemes to focus on supporting employees wellbeing, be it Physical, Mental or Financial. Interested in finding out more?  Contact us

This information is intended as a general overview and discussion of the subjects dealt with. The information provided here was accurate as of the day it was posted; however, the law may have changed since that date. This information is not intended to be, and should not be used as, a substitute for taking legal, HR or benefits advice in any specific situation. Petaurum Solutions is not responsible for any actions taken or not taken on the basis of this information. Please refer to the full terms and conditions on our website.

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