Stress in the workplace

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Stress in the Workplace

Right now, 1 in 6 UK employees are battling mental health conditions, such as stress, anxiety or depression. As a manager and a person, it’s important for your employee, and your business to understand and proactively support employees who are struggling.

Traditionally, talking about mental health has been a taboo subject, especially in the workplace.   30% of UK staff feel that they can’t talk openly about stress to their manager and yet, stress is endemic in our work culture.  Fear plays a big part in this reluctance to talk.  Employees fear they will lose their job and employers fear they are not equipped or trained to deal with a discussion around mental health.  Quite often though, you don’t need to be a mental health expert, you just need to be a good listener.

Those who are suffering from poor mental health can behave in a variety of ways.  Being withdrawn, more sensitive to comments, irritable or angry, fatigue, headaches increased absenteeism are just a few indicators.  It’s true, to spot this you need to know your people, but great managers do.  If you spot behaviour or symptoms like this, catch it going wrong.  Arrange to speak to them in a safe environment and explain your observations and ask how they are feeling, reassuring them they are not in trouble, you want to help.

There are many manageable things you can do to support a staff member and the simplest and easiest thing to do is acknowledge they are struggling and reassure them you are committed to helping them receive the understanding and guidance they need.   Beyond that there are many initiatives you can implement that could potentially help them feel better, the smallest of adjustments can make the world of difference.

A Stress Risk Assessment can help identify feelings and potential triggers as well as healthy behaviours that can be encouraged when the stress becomes especially difficult.

Following a Traffic Light System is another way of encouraging an employee to share how they are feeling.  Think of mental health as a set of traffic lights; there’ll be the not-so-bad green days, difficult amber days and then, the destructive red days. Encourage them to talk to you on amber, and above don’t wait until it gets to a red.

If you need help with supporting someone in your business suffering from stress, anxiety or depression, the Adastra team can conduct A Stress Risk Assessment and work with you to identify and implement the right support.

Call us on 0330 113 0925 or email