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5 Signs That You Should Invest in Stress Management Provision

Altruist Enterprises

Mismanagement of stress and mental health problems in the workplace is costing UK businesses £30.3 billion per year with close to 1 in 3 employees experiencing poor mental health whilst at work (Centre for Mental Health/CIPD Absence Management Survey 2016). Simple steps to improve the management of stress and mental health should enable employers to save 30% or more of these costs – that’s a saving of over £9 billion per year.

Every organisation will be affected by stress and mental health problems within the workforce but how can you tell if your workplace needs to invest in stress management provision and training?

Here are five signs to get you started:

  1. Changes in habits and general behaviour – has an employee started behaving differently? Have they increased their caffeine intake or increased their smoking habits? Have they changed their eating habits? Have they seemed constantly tired, as if they lack sleep? Changes in habits and behaviour are common and a strong indicator that your employees are experiencing stress.
  2. Changes in interactions – has an employee started treating their colleagues or customers differently? An employee may become agitated and snap at colleagues. They may also seem very happy then quickly become sad or angry. Agitation, nervousness and mood swings are also common in those who suffer from stress.
  3. Changes in work behaviour – has an employee started working more? Have they started working later or taken work home? Have they missed their breaks to do more work? Although this may be perceived as high performance, this is not always the case. Stress can cause employees to lose focus and this can mean that it takes them longer to complete tasks. They may also be using work as a coping mechanism to avoid things that are happening in their personal lives.
  4. Absenteeism - When employees take time off, if their sick notes state “stressed”, “exhausted” or “depressed” then it can be safe to say that that employee is experiencing problems with their mental health. Employers are often unaware that physical pain and illness can also be a strong indicator that a member of staff is experiencing stress. Stress causes tension which can often lead to back pain, neck pain and headaches. It also weakens the immune system meaning that people are more likely to catch illnesses such as colds. With stress being the most common cause of long term sickness absence, it is likely that this is the reason for their absence.
  5. Presenteeism – defined as physical presence but psychological absence, presenteeism is the biggest staff related cost to businesses and is the hardest to spot. Does a staff member turn up to work but not complete their tasks? Does this person not engage with other staff members? A stressed employee can become confused and lose concentration, meaning that they cannot do work as well as they did before. They may have also lost motivation and lack confidence in their own work. These are all signs of presenteeism and this is likely to be due to stress.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in particular can have delayed acknowledgment or response to well-being issues in the workplace which costs them time, money and key staff members. Tackling these issues are essential in order to maintain healthy, motivated and more productive workforces.

Altruist are an award-winning organisation experienced in providing training to help organisations to prevent, identify and tackle stress within workplaces. To find out more, visit www.altruistuk.com/services today.

This blog post has been produced in support of the GBCC’s Growth Through People campaign. The views expressed by the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of the GBCC.