Dealing with stress in the workplace for employee wellbeing
According to the Office for National Statistics; 131 million days are lost to sickness absence every year, that’s 4.4 days and a median cost of £609 per employee.
Apart from the financial implications, sickness absence also impacts the workplace in ways such as reduced productivity and morale. 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?
Reviewing recruitment and onboarding methods can determine if everything is being done to protect an employee’s wellbeing from the very start of the relationship. Onboarding is a chance to channel the enthusiasm of a new starter into engagement with the team and connecting to the company culture. At this stage any guesswork and extra stress should be minimalised. Explaining what they need to know before they need to know it, assures new and existing employees that they are valued and have all the necessary tools to succeed. This clearly shows that employers care about their employees and is more likely to foster a happy and effective workplace. Read our six steps to ensure the successful onboarding of a new employee.
Limit excessive working hours
Often it’s the hardest working employees who find it the toughest to manage their own work/life balance and believe that the more hours they work the more productive they are. Quantity over quality is just not the case. Managers should encourage their employees to take their lunch hour and regular breaks and not work excessively long hours. Instead of allowing the rest of the team to take the burden of stretched resources onto themselves employers should look to find the root of this problem.
Monitor staff wellbeing
Managers should be committed to finding the most effective ways to measure wellbeing across the business. Staff surveys or one-to-one interviews can identify pressure points at a department, team and individual level. Being seen as proactive and approachable encourages employees to offer ideas and opinions in an informal and relaxed environment. Welcoming and listening to an employee’s worries will make them feel valued which in turn improves their wellbeing at work.
Employees need to know how their role relates to the company’s overall structure and the big picture. Regular catch-ups will ensure expectations are met on both sides and install belief and trust into the team, reducing feelings of inadequacy. It’s important to stay focused on solutions and progression, which people tend to respond positively to, whereas focusing on faults can have negative outcomes and cause even more stress.
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.”