Employers have a legal obligation to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees at work, including minimising the risk of stress-related illness and injury at work. With greater public awareness, political interest and transparency surrounding the issues of wellbeing at work, more and more employers are reviewing their wellness practices, and rightly so.
The Health Executive claims that in 2016/17, 25.7 million working days were lost to work related ill health. Reducing even a fraction of these absences will have a positive impact on a company’s productivity, and the UK’s productivity as a whole.
Factors that contributed to these stress levels and ill health in workplace include:
Not taking enough breaks
Having no one to talk to
Pressure to succeed
Ultimately the responsibility for wellbeing and health at work is down to the management, but a recent study by CIPD shows that a third of organisations who identified stress as a top cause of absence are not taking any steps to address it. So how can employers put more focus on addressing signs of stress in the workplace and prevent problems from escalating going into 2018?
Limit excessive working hours
Managers should encourage their employees to take their lunch hour and regular breaks and not work excessively long hours.
Monitor staff wellbeing
Welcoming and listening to an employee’s worries will make them feel valued which in turn improves their wellbeing at work.
Regular catch-ups will ensure expectations are met on both sides and install belief and trust into the team, reducing feelings of inadequacy.
Employee wellness programmes Implementing a culture of workplace wellness can help to attract top talent. For millennials, it is less a “nice to have”, and more of “must have”. Major employers understand this and big companies ranging from those in the technology sector to major investment banks have shown a massive increase in investment into wellness programmes.
Claire Bond, Director at Bond Williams, urges employers to pay attention to the human and business cost of stress. She says: “Research shows that less than half of employees would tell their manager if they were feeling stressed and so it can remain an invisible but detrimental business risk. As such, prevention for all employees, rather than singling out stressed individuals, may be the best approach and something to consider going into 2018.”