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Work-related stress is becoming more and more common in businesses across industries. The basis of work-related stress all comes down to how you feel when you have demands at work that exceed your ability to cope. Almost 12 million working days are lost each year because of perceived work-related stress triggering other emotional factors such as anxiety and depression. Let’s take a look at how, as an employer, you can help to tackle work-related stress within your team and notice the signs of those who are suffering to offer support.

Impacts of stress

Work-related stress can cause both mental and physical effects on the body. Everyone reacts to stress in a variety of ways, with the impact of your personality and the ways in which you respond to pressure affecting how you deal with stress at work. Common mental effects of stress often include finding it hard to cope, concentrate, keep focused and have confidence in your work. Effects like this on your team’s mental health can also have knock-on effects on their emotional and physical wellbeing which will only add to their pre-existing levels of stress.

Causes and triggers

There can be many causes and triggers when it comes to work-related stress, some being harder to spot than others. Typically, working in a fulfilling role creates a positive impact on people’s lives, giving you structure and satisfaction. A certain amount of pressure at work is also usually a good thing, as it can help you to perform better and strive to succeed. However, pressure and demand can sometimes become too much, leading to work-related stress.

Sometimes, there is no single cause for work-related stress. An abundance of small things building up over time or a mix of issues and problems between work and home life can mean that work-related stress becomes more of an issue for your employees. Most commonly, work-related stress is induced by one, or several, of the following:

  • an excessive workload or unrealistic deadlines
  • long working hours
  • difficult relationships with colleagues
  • poor management
  • having too much or too little to do
  • a lack of control in your working environment
  • being unclear about your job role and what you’re meant to do
  • bullying at work
  • being under pressure to meet deadlines
  • being in the wrong job for your skills, abilities and expectations

As an employer, it’s important to know the signs of stress to make sure your team don’t suffer in silence.

Identifying signals

In order to be able to tackle work-related stress, as an employer, it’s vital that you are able to recognise any changes in your team’s behaviour. The sooner you are able to realise what areas of work are causing your team problems, the quicker you can take action to implement suitable solutions.

If your team is suffering from work-related stress, there are ways to identify it, especially from their changes in behaviour. If your team are often rushing through tasks, don’t take breaks, work longer hours, don’t take holidays and take work home, more often than not, it could be a sign that they’re struggling.

Some days are likely to be more stressful than others for your team, so it’s important not to overreact to small changes in their behaviour. However, if you or your staff feel consistently stressed for a substantial amount of time, it might be time to seek professional help. You can’t specifically diagnose work-related stress, which is why it’s all the more important for you and your team to talk to a healthcare professional about any concerns they may have. For some businesses, options such as Employee Assistance Programmes can provide highly beneficial support and advice when it comes to work-related stress such as  confidential telephone counselling.

Finding the right treatment

There are lots of ways that you can help to reduce the negative impact of work-related stress on your team. Adapting the ways in which you work, as well as your working environment, can help your team deal better with more stressful situations. Being open and available to your team, however, can be one of the most simple solutions. Having a friendly and open chat with your team about coping with work-related stress will help your team feel more comfortable to be able to perform better at work.

It’s also important to encourage your team to do things around the office differently. Switching up your work environment, encouraging your team to change their lifestyle habits, finding ways to address and even reduce your workload and developing a positive thinking style are just some of the small steps you can take to reduce stress. Each member of your team is different, so this process is all about finding a solution that works for each individual and supporting them through their work-related stress.

At Protectus, we understand how important it is to harness a healthy and happy working environment. Whether it’s company health insurance or employee assistance programmes, we navigate a whole host of policies to find you and your team the most suitable cover. Get in touch for direction on how you can look after your top team.