Stress Awareness Month – How Can Employers Identify and Manage the Risks of Stress at Work

It's no secret that stress at work is a major problem. A 2020 study by Perkbox found that an overwhelming 79% of British workers say they commonly experience work-related stress, which is 20% higher than in 2018. And it would be surprising if this number hadn't increased further following the pandemic.

Various health problems are linked to stress, including heart disease, anxiety, depression, and even obesity. It can also lead to absenteeism and lower productivity levels.

So how can employers identify the risks of stress at work? And more importantly, what can they do to manage those risks?

Here are some tips:

What are the main causes of stress at work?

From high-pressure deadlines to interpersonal conflicts, understanding the main causes of stress in the workplace can help organisations to take steps to mitigate these issues and create a healthier work environment.

Here are some of the most common causes of workplace stress:

  • Workload and deadlines
  • Interpersonal conflicts
  • Uncertainty and lack of control
  • Career development and advancement
  • Work-life balance

What are the effects of workplace stress?

Workplace stress can have a significant impact on individuals and organisations alike. Not only can it lead to decreased productivity and job satisfaction, but it can also contribute to physical and mental health issues. Understanding the effects of workplace stress is crucial in taking steps to mitigate its impact and create a healthier work environment.

Here are some of the most common effects of workplace stress.

  • Increased chance of developing a long-term health condition
  • Reduced productivity and efficiency
  • Increased chance of having an accident at work
  • Greater likelihood of experiencing a mental health problem
  • Increased chance of experiencing physical health problems
  • Reduced job satisfaction and morale
  • Increased chance of experiencing interpersonal conflict
  • Greater likelihood of experiencing stress-related health complications

How can employers identify and manage the risks of stress at work?

Employers have a crucial role in identifying and managing stress risks at work. By implementing effective strategies for stress management and supporting employees to manage their workload and wellbeing, employers can create a healthier, more productive workplace environment.

Here are some key steps that employers can take to identify and manage the risks of stress at work:

  • Conduct risk assessments: Employers should conduct regular risk assessments to identify potential sources of stress within the workplace. This can include assessing workload, working hours, job demands, and organisational culture

  • Promote open communication: Encouraging open communication between employees and managers can help to identify potential stressors early on. This can include regular check-ins, surveys, and feedback mechanisms to ensure employees feel heard and supported.

  • Provide training and resources: Employers should provide training and resources to support employees in managing their workload and wellbeing. This can include training in time management, resilience, stress management techniques, and access to support services such as counselling and employee assistance programs. At MHIB, we are now taking bookings for our all-new Stress Awareness Masterclass, specifically designed to help employers and their teams better understand the effects of stress and how to manage it. Please do not hesitate to contact the MHIB team for more information.

  • Create a positive work culture: Cultivating a positive work culture that values work-life balance and employee wellbeing can help to reduce the risk of stress at work. This can include promoting flexible working arrangements, recognising and rewarding employee achievements, and encouraging social support within the workplace.

  • Monitor and review: Employers should monitor the effectiveness of their stress management strategies and review them regularly to ensure that they are meeting the needs of employees. This can include conducting regular surveys and focus groups to gather feedback and track progress.

By taking a proactive approach to managing the risks of stress at work, employers can create a more supportive and productive workplace environment where employees feel valued, motivated, and able to perform to their full potential.


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