Stress is, arguably, inherent in work and is a nationwide issue. A recent report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that 37% of the 1,078 professionals interviewed had noticed a rise in stress-related absences over the past year.
The main causes were reported to be:-
- an unmanageable workload (62% of companies commented this was part of the reason for stress at work); and
- poor management.
Rachel Suff of the CIPD believes that these issues are down to a lack of training of management who contribute to both of the above. Further, managers tend to be on the front line and will often the first person that the employee will turn to.
The CIPD has been running an annual study of stress at work over the last 19 years and the most recent findings have shown the lowest average number of sick days reported with only 6 per worker per year. This may have something to do with the worrying statistic that 83% of companies observed that presenteeism (when an individual comes into work when they are unwell) had risen in the past year. In addition, 63% of companies noted that employees were working whilst they should have been on holiday.
Employees are the greatest assets of any organisation that employs people and so there is a duty of care to ensure that stress is kept to a minimum, not least because of the implied duty to provide employees with a safe working environment and safe system of work (covering both physical and mental wellbeing).
Having policies and processes in place will assist your employees and managers not only to avoid stress at work, but also to get an employee back to work. However, processes can only go so far and a change in culture may be required.
To start any change in culture, managers should be given training to:-
- deliver good management;
- avoid overloading staff;
- monitor wellbeing and recognise when an individual may be becoming stressed and help avoid this or, if they have gone off sick to return back to work.
An investment in management and employee’s mental health will allow companies to reap the benefits of having a more productive and efficient workforce, not to mention avoid stress at work claims or the knock on effect of long term absence that might otherwise arise!
If you have any questions about the topics discussed in this article, do not hesitate to contact a member of the employment team.
For more information please visit the pages below.
cipid.co.uk - health and well being at work