3 Ways For Employers To Help Staff Deal With Stress

Workplace stress is a common problem and one which has the potential to increase the number of sickness-related absences in your workplace. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says stress is the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other demands placed on them. In some work situations pressure can cause motivation, but excessive pressure has the potential to cause work-related stress.

According to the NHS website, psychological problems, including stress, anxiety and depression, are behind one in five GP visits.

Stress symptoms include:

  • palpitations
  • dry mouth
  • headaches
  • strange aches and pains
  • loss of appetite for food

Employees dealing with stress may be tempted towards unhealthy behaviour such as drinking, smoking or drug use and comfort eating. This has the potential to cause further health problems.

If you’re an employer, tackling stress in the workforce can decrease the number of staff sick days, boost productivity and increase morale. The HSE believes good management practices can help reduce work-related stress and provides management standards approach to help you take practical steps to minimise stress in the workplace. At OHBM we can help you implement these methods within your business.

As an employer, some of the things you can do to reduce employee stress levels include:

Promote activity

Does your workplace have a cycle to work scheme or 5-a-side football team your employees could get involved in? Do you offer reduced rates membership for local gyms? Exercise can help employees feel stronger physically and mentally, and enable them to deal with problems more calmly.

Avoid encouraging unhealthy habits

Does your workplace have a regular Friday night out in the local pub? While socialising is a great way to build relationships, you could encourage non-alcohol related activities instead. Bowling, a visit to a climbing wall, the cinema or the theatre are all enjoyable options that don’t revolve around alcohol.

Consider work-life balance

In the UK we work the longest hours in Europe. Lots of stressed employees could mean you’re expecting to much from them. Could you offer more flexible working hours, or at-home working arrangements to your team?

Talk to the team at OHBM to help you determine the best course of action to reduce stress in your workplace and boost the overall well-being of your team.

Sickness Absence Reaches Record Lows

Research shows that sickness absence is at a record low for manufacturing employers, according to industry body EEF.

The survey took into account data from 330 firms over the last two years, which showed absence levels reaching just 2.1% overall – the equivalent of 4.9 days per employee every year.

However, while short-term sickness absences have dropped, days off for long-term illnesses have risen, and employers have also reported a rise in employees suffering from mental health problems. Two in five of the companies surveyed by the EEF said long term absence has increased during the last 24 months.

Mental ill health, musculoskeletal disorders and illnesses leading to surgery were the greatest cause of long-term absence from work in the last two years.

“Driving down absence rates, helping more employees return to work earlier and encouraging their well-being is critical for our economy. But, despite employers increasing investment in managing sickness absence and, providing their employees with more health related benefits, the improvement in overall absence rates has more or less now plateaued,” said professor Sayeed Khan, chief medical adviser at EEF.

The effects of employee absence

When workers take days off sick it affects a business’ profitability, morale and success so it is imperative organisations look for ways to improve the overall health of employees and manage absences pro-actively and effectively.

Staff absences put a strain on other members of the team and cause output to decrease. They also have the potential to cause a dip in morale. This is why businesses need to consider plans to ensure business can continue when employees are absent, as well as ways to improve team members’ overall well-being to reduce unnecessary sickness absence and speed the return to work.

According to the survey, just 46 percent of employers in the manufacturing sector pay for medical interventions. The numbers of employers offering occupational health services are more positive however; 68 percent of those surveyed offered this service as a benefit for all staff.

If you are seeking a way to reduce sickness absence in the workplace, OHBM can help you put the necessary procedures in place. Speak to our helpful and friendly team about your business today.

Workplace Drugs Testing And The Law [Video]

If you’re considering implementing workplace drugs testing, you need to be sure you’re up to speed on the legal implications of this task. While you do have a duty of protection and ensuring safety in the workplace, you can’t force a staff member to take a test.

At OHBM we can help guide you the drug testing process, whether this is something you’ve done before or you’re new to the process. Watch our video above for further information and contact the team today.