Avoiding stress in the workplace

Stress at work is no laughing matter, with 13.5 million working days lost to businesses last year. Here, SmallBusiness.co.uk and charity The Eden Project offer some tips to defuse office tension.

Understand the effects

We all have off days at work. Blowouts, tantrums and days when it seems better to switch off the alarm clock and hide under the duvet. But stress, over a prolonged period, can be an altogether more serious beast for a manager to handle.

Training in how to deal with employees suffering from stress is key. If nothing else, businesses need to recognise these risks from an economic point of view. Of course, the other consequences are bad for business too – namely, low staff morale and unhappiness at work.

Know the causes

The main sources of stress within organisations are:
– long hours
– ill defined job roles
– poor or ineffective line management
– lack of resources.

Talk it through

Employers can help their staff by acting as a source of information. There is no defined barrier between experiencing stress at home and at work. It is inevitable that people worried about money at home will also be stressed at work. An open culture of advice and support is essential – for example, staff may be worried about their job security and so it is important that employers keep their staff informed about future business developments.

Offer solutions and training

Making financial resources available is often a very positive way to motivate employees. Employers can also ask their staff how they might help them – some suggestions might be bike purchase or car sharing schemes.

It might also be worth investing in stress awareness training through organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. And remember, it is also important to try to have fun at work from time to time, no matter how pressurised the job.

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