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Expert shares how to banish stress from your workforce in 2024

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In the latest annual report released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) approximately 875,000 UK workers suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in the last year. That’s far too high a number but how can we banish stress from your workforce?…

Work-related stress can arise from employee interactions with managers, colleagues, and the organisation as a whole. Spotting these stressors early on is a big step in helping that individual cope.

The work to banish stress from you workforce starts with indentifying the signs

Simon Walter of health and safety consultancy firm Rhino Safety says: “Effectively addressing workplace stress starts with the ability to identify subtle signs. These indicators may range from shifts in appetite to irritability and mood fluctuations. If ignored, these signals can escalate to the point of absenteeism and illness.

“Beyond recognising the signs, it is crucial to understand potential causes, enabling the minimisation of stressors within the workplace.”

Simon shares ways employers can limit high stress in their workplace in 2024, and what to do when it does occur.

Five ways to limiting stressors and dealing with them

1.Cultivate positive interactions in the workplace

A pivotal strategy in stress mitigation involves fostering and nurturing workplace relationships. Early signs of stress are often concealed due to the fear of negative reactions, making it essential to establish strong connections with employees.

By developing authentic relationships, an atmosphere of openness and honesty is cultivated. This encourages employees to share stress-related concerns, not only enhancing communication but also letting employees know that they are valued individuals.

2. Ensure adequate breaks for employees

Taking breaks is essential for recharging between tasks and avoiding overwhelm. Breaks can either be brief pauses during the day or extended periods away from work.

Encourage a culture that supports regular breaks, perhaps by providing designated breakout spaces or urging employees to take lunch away from their desks. It is crucial to counteract the pressure to work incessantly and ensure employees take necessary breaks to prevent burnout.

3. Monitor workloads

Workload is a major contributor to workplace stress, often stemming from the perception of an overwhelming task list. Lack of visibility in one another’s work exacerbates the problem. Building strong workplace relationships is essential to create an environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their workload.

There also needs to be systems in place so that everyone has visibility over what their colleagues and subordinates are doing.

This transparency enables a clear understanding of the challenges each employee faces, facilitating easier management of work-related stress.

4. Conduct return-to-work assessments

While the term may evoke a sense of scrutiny, a return-to-work interview can provide valuable insights for managers. Following an employee’s absence, this interview serves as a tool to uncover the reasons behind their stress-related absence. It not only aids individual employees but also helps identify broader stress-related issues that may impact the entire workforce, allowing proactive measures to be implemented.

5. Lead by example

Regardless of the preventive measures in place, serving as a role model is paramount. Demonstrating the desired behaviour, such as taking breaks, setting sensible working boundaries and engaging with employees, sets the tone for an open and supportive workplace culture. By embodying the principles you wish to instil, you communicate that taking breaks and addressing stress is not only acceptable but actively encouraged.

While factors like workload and management style contribute to work-related stress, external influences beyond your control also play a significant role. Acknowledge the impact of non-work-related factors on your employees, as personal challenges persist even within the professional environment.

About Rhino Safety

Rhino Safety is a leading provider of health and safety solutions, offering a comprehensive range of services to businesses across the UK. With a commitment to excellence, Rhino Safety aims to be the trusted partner for businesses seeking expert guidance and support in health and safety management.

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