On this years’ National Stress
Awareness Day, our Employment Solicitor Jodie Ridgway looks at the issue of
stress in the workplace and how employers can help.
Work related stress isn’t a new or an uncommon thing, but it is an issue which affects many people. Unfortunately it is not always handled as well as it could be and is a subject area often avoided.
Stress actually accounts for roughly 30% of all work related ill health cases and around 43% of all working days lost due to ill health.
Employers should deal with issues arising from both short-term and long-term absences due to work related stress, and in particular, how to support a return to work after such absence. A key consideration for the employer is the cause of the stress in the employee - is it the ever-increasing workload, the difficult customers, clients or suppliers that they have been dealing with, or a colleague that has been bullying them? Every employee needs to know and feel that they can speak to a member of the management team and receive support about these work related stress issues, without the risk of negative consequences.
How can employers help?
- Regular meetings to assess how the individual is managing with their workload;
- Offer more training to assist with developing the individual’s learning;
- Ensure policies are in place on how to deal with stress at work;
- Suggest a different role which is more suited to the employee’s abilities (further to an appropriate process);
- Speak to them - early intervention is key.
ACAS, amongst others, has commented on the link between the economic climate and the nation’s mental wellbeing. It’s no wonder that employees’ mental health is being affected when redundancies are being made, workloads are increasing and pay is at a standstill.
What employers and managers need is guidance and training in preventing and dealing with workplace stress. Effectively managing these issues and working closely with employees to combat the effects of work related stress are key skills that need to be developed.
ACAS offer free resources for both employers and employees. Our Employment lawyers would also be happy to discuss and offer advice regarding implementing policies in your workplace or any specific grievance you may have as an employee. Contact Carla Gowing on 01603 660 811, or at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your specific circumstances.