Hardly a day goes by without a news report, survey or piece of research that shows that stress is having a serious impact on the wellbeing of many people, not only in this country but across the world.
- A survey conducted by LV shows that 1 in 4 workers have taken time off with stress
- A survey conducted by CV Library shows British workers feel overworked and underappreciated
- A survey conducted by YouGov for Mind shows that millions of UK staff are experiencing high levels of stress
- A study by Harvard researchers showed that a stressful workplace can take 33 years off your life expectancy
- Research in China shows workplace stress causes an increased risk of having a stroke
For businesses, there are measurable impacts on all this workplace stress. Research in this country shows:
- The total number of cases of stress in the UK in 2011/12 was 428,000, or 40% of all work-related illnesses
- The cost of stress-related absence to business is £3.7 billion
So, for businesses, there are genuine benefits to having a healthy & happy workforce. The Health and Safety Executive have outlined a number of benefits to tackling workplace stress including:
- Reduced staff turnover and intention to leave, so improving retention
- Better absence management
- Fewer days lost to sickness and absenteeism
- Fewer accidents
- Improved work quality
- Improved organisational image and reputation
Benefits for individuals
- People feel more motivated and committed to their work
- Morale is high
- People work harder and perform better – increasing their earning power
- People feel that they are part of a team and the decision-making process, so accept change better
- Relationships – with managers and within teams – are better
- People are happy in their work and don’t want to leave
- Lower risks of litigation – because they comply with legal duties
- Improved return on investment in training and development
- Improved customer care and relationships with clients and suppliers
- Reduced costs of sick pay, sickness cover, overtime and recruitment
- Better staff understanding and tolerance of others experiencing problems
Getting it right in your workplace
So, if you are an employer or manager, or perhaps you are part of a workforce and want to help tackle stress in your workplace and improve wellbeing, how do you go about it?
I would strongly recommend that you start by taking a look at the ISMA Charter. This document clearly outlines how to develop a positive working culture in any organisation, regardless of size. It includes a range of behaviours and attitudes that all members of a team can work towards, developing a culture of trust, respect, openness and fairness.
Secondly, I would read and implement How to tackle work-related stress by the HSE. This document uses a management standards approach to help employers manage the causes of work-related stress. Again, it requires a whole organisation approach and a commitment from all to evaluate and understand the causes of stress in that company. The document then advises that a process of monitoring and review is implemented to make sure that standards are maintained.
If you are interested in finding out how we can work together to tackle your workplace stress, you can arrange a free consultation from my contact page.