Police Scotland Lose 53,428 Working Days To Stress

Stress management

New figures show that the Police Scotland have lost 53,428 days to stress and stress-related conditions in just the last 2 years alone, according to information compiled by Scottish Labour.

In just the months of January to March, the most recent data available, there were more than 10,000 days of absence recorded throughout the police workers in the country. This is an increase of 84 per cent on the same period last year.

Conditions leading to absences were cited as depression, stress and anxiety, according to a Freedom of Information request.

Stress and the associated medical conditions are a very real concern for modern businesses and organisations in the UK, as these statistics show. When staff take time off due to stress, their employers have to ensure business can continue as usual but this may lead to additional costs or put strain on other members of staff who have to take on extra work.

That’s why it is imperative that employers don’t just have a plan of action to help mitigate the effects of sickness absence, but that they put in measures to try to prevent stress in the workplace.

Preventing stress in the workforce

In previous posts on the OHBM blog we’ve already covered ways in which organisations are looking to reduce stress levels. There are some innovative ideas in circulation, including using micropigs and laughter yoga, in addition to the more usual encouragement of exercise, healthy eating and more.

At OHBM we offer several services to help your business overcome the effects of stress amongst the workforce. As experts in our field, we use audit tools that allow us to clearly identify stress issues within your workplace – for both individuals or groups of employees. We are able to refer members of your workforce at short notice to a team of experienced psychologists. Services include stress management, assessment and treatment programmes.

Stress, depression and anxiety are very real conditions which could affect any organisation large or small. Talk to the team at OHBM to find out more about how we can help.

Is Stress A Fact Of Life For Public Sector Employees?

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Eighty-five per cent of employees in the public and voluntary think stress is a fact of life, according to the “Clockoff survey”. The research took into account the opinion of more than 3,700 people in the public and voluntary sectors including the police and the NHS, NGOs, social housing and more.

The results of the survey show that 93 per cent of people say they are stressed at work a lot of the time, some of the time, or all of the time. Breaking that down, nine per cent say they are stressed all the time they are at work, and almost every one of these respondents said they work over and above their working hours.

Survey respondents claim to work an extra seven additional hours a week on average and less than a quarter of respondents get a main break of 30 minutes or more every day.

The Clockoff survey found that 46 per cent of people strongly agree they have to work beyond their hours to keep up with their workload, 31 per cent agree and just three per cent strongly disagree.

Respondents reported physical and psychological symptoms of stress as headaches, poor sleep, mental health issues and digestive problems.

Workplace stress and overworked employees appear to go hand in hand according to the survey. Stress in the workplace can lead to an array of problems including workplace absence, which causes a negative effect on productivity, workplace morale and more.

To find out more about how your organisation can tackle workplace stress contact OHBM for occupational health and advice today.

Can Micropigs Reduce Stress?


Stress is one of the leading causing of sickness absence within UK businesses, so as an organisation taking steps to reduce the stress of your workforce can help you access a range of benefits. Typically, businesses looking at improving employee well being embark on initiatives such as healthy eating and exercise to prevent stress. Occupational health specialists also recommend quick referral to counselling or other services to help employees already struggling with stress or other mental health issues.

However, some organisations in the UK are employing innovative and unique methods to help individuals reduce stress. We recently reported on a hospital who are using laughter yoga to relax staff, but this week Nottingham Trent University, in preparation for the tough exam season, has announced its interesting pet therapy plans. The university has set up a micro pig room to help students relieve stress by cuddling up to these tiny piggies.

The university isn’t alone in its stress-busting efforts. Exeter University opened a pig room earlier in the month, while other universities like Leicester and Bristol have chosen puppies for their pet therapy. In addition to providing a welcome break from revision to alleviate exam anxiety, the rooms will raise money for charities.

Does it work?

Interaction with a gentle, friendly animal is said to have a number of benefits for health including:

  • lowering blood pressure
  • releasing endorphins which calm you
  • improving cardiovascular health
  • lowering physical pain
  • and potentially even reducing the need for medication

So will we see more organisations and businesses embark on pet therapy to reduce stress in the office? Could the quick stroke of a pig calm your customer service reps when they’re dealing with angry customers, or help execs chill out before a tough presentation? Watch this space.

Mental Health: What Are Your Responsibilities As An Employer?

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Common mental health issues such as stress can have consequences as diverse as increased absenteeism to feelings of negativity breeding throughout the workplace. This is particularly if colleagues are having to pick up slack from an absent employee.

So what are your responsibilities as an employer when it comes to mental health?

Under the Health and Safety at work Act 1974, your business is required to ensure employees’ health, safety, and welfare in the workplace – as far as is reasonably practical. The HSE expects businesses and organisations to ensure suitable risk assessments take place in order to gauge the stress levels of staff members. Plus, the 1999 Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations mean employees are required to assess health and safety risks in the workplace for third parties.

The role of occupational health

In line with the HSE, an occupational health professional like OHBM will use audit tools allow your business to identify stress issues within your workplace. OHBM’s audit tools are suitable for use for both individuals and groups of employees.

If there is a risk, the health of the employee should be monitored regularly. With OHBM, members of the workforce can be referred at short notice to our experienced psychologists. Here, they can access stress management, assessment and treatment programmes.

To find out more about your obligations as an organisation when it comes to mental health and stress in the workplace, speak to the team at OHBM. We are more than happy to help.

Dealing With Stress In Your Workplace?

Workplace stress affects productivity. It affects the physical and emotional health of your employees.

It is a leading cause of sickness absence – in fact, statistics show that stress is behind one in even five visits to the GP as it causes an array of symptoms – some more obvious than others. You can find out more about the symptoms of stress in a previous OHBM article here.

As an employer you should carry out sufficient risk assessments to identify areas of potential stress. And tackle any problems identified.

OHBM uses audit tools to identify stress issues. We can refer at short notice to experienced psychologists for stress management, assessment and treatment programs.

For more information about how workforce stress has the potential to affect your business, contact OHBM today.

Employees Aged 30-49 Are More Stressed And Take The Most Time Off

Stress management

A new survey has discovered that employees between the ages of 30 and 49 are more stressed and taking increased levels of sick leave, when compared to colleagues in different age brackets. The average amount of sick leave in the last six months in this age group was higher than the others, reaching a total of 2.3 days per employee.

According to the OnePoll survey, more than one third of employees in the 30-49 age bracket considered themselves stressed either all of the time or most of the time. Forty-three per cent claimed their stress came from money worries, while 41 per cent said they were concerned about work.

The OnePoll study, conducted on behalf of Axa PPP Healthcare surveyed 2,000 employees.

Time off sick

The study found that in the 30-49 age bracket, 12 per cent of respondents had taken a full week of sick leave, or the equivalent, in the last six months alone. Compare this to the younger and older employees, just five per cent and six per cent of whom had taken as much time off work respectively.

Motivation and value

As part of the study, employees were also asked to answer questions on their career. In the 30-49 bracket 29 per cent of those who responded said their career path had plateaued, 15 per cent said they had no career path, and 27 per cent said their job didn’t enable them to follow their key priorities in life.

This survey is yet another indication that wellbeing in the workplace helps employers reduce stress levels, and the associated number of sickness absences. Workers in this age group in particular may have increased levels of stress due to difficulties both at home and in the workplace. Employees in this age group are more likely to have mortgages and young families in addition to the responsibilities demanded of them in the workplace.

When staff aren’t encouraged to undertake practices that are positive for their physical and mental health they take more time off sick. As an employer by ensuring steps towards employee wellbeing are put into place, you can reduce the level of sickness absence and improve productivity. Healthy, happy employees can directly improve the bottom line of your business.

Talk to OHBM about our stress management services.


Stress Management In The Workplace

40% of workers worry about declaring mental health problems due to fears it could impact their career – but mental health problems can be caused by workplace stress.

As an employer, how do you address the problem of stress management in the workplace before it causes issues such as absenteeism and loss of productivity, and costs your business cash?

Where mental health issues cause disability employers must take reasonable action to minimise stress on the workforce.

At OHBM our Stress Management Services help businesses identify potential areas of workplace stress, helping you to create a healthier, happy, more productive workforce.

Watch our video to find our more.

Employees Worry About Declaring Mental Health Problems At Work

Nearly half of employees experience mental health conditions but choose not to tell their employer according to a Friends Life survey.

Two thousand participants from across a variety of industries were surveyed, with 40% stating that they had experienced conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression. However they chose not to disclose the information due to concerns that it might impact upon their career prospects.

An “excessive workload” was the most common cause of stress, followed by “frustration with poor management and working hours” and notably, it was younger workers who are feeling the strain more than the older generation. Nearly two thirds of 18 to 24-year-olds said that they had been stressed, anxious or depressed within the last year, with the rate of incident decreasing gradually among older age groups.

Employees worrying about the impact of telling an employer about their mental health is understandable but it is important to know that a person may have legal protection if they are suffering mental health conditions at their workplace.

Under the Equality Act 2010 a mental illness can be classified as a disability if a person has a physical or mental impairment, and if the impairment has a substantial and long-term effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Conditions are deemed to be long term if they last for 12 months or longer.

In the event of a disability, employers are required to take reasonable action in order to support their work force. For example, changing shift patterns, working hours or adjusting other factors such as long distance travelling and computer usage can be implemented in order to support employees experiencing problems. If an employer is unreasonable or dismisses a person on the grounds of disability, then they could leave themselves open to a disability discrimination claim or unfair dismissal.

It is important that workers tell their employer if they are experiencing a mental health problem, as it will enable the opportunity for support and adjustments to be provided. In the long run this will increase productivity and lead to a happier, healthier workforce.

Workplace Stress Can Increase The Amount Of Sickness-Related Absences

Stress in the workplace has the potential to increase employee absences and reduce productivity. And stress is a very common complaint in the UK, with psychological problems including stress behind 1/5th of GP visits.

Symptoms of stress are numerous, but may include:

  • Palpitations
  • Dry Mouth
  • Headaches
  • Strange Aches And Pains
  • Loss Of Appetite

It can also lead to unhealthy behaviours such as drinking, smoking, comfort eating and drug use – which are further damaging to health.

Did you know that good management practices can help reduce work-related stress? At OHBM we can help you implement these practices within your business.

Contact us now for a chat about your organisation and how we can help.

Stress May Cause Weight Gain, Study Suggests

A study of women has shown that stress can slow metabolism and lead to weight gain. Fifty-eight women were surveyed as part of the research by Ohio State University.

The study asked the women about their stress levels on the previous day, before giving them a meal of 930 calories and 60 grams of fat. Researchers then measured how long it took for the women to burn off the calories.

The results showed that women who’d been party to stressful events during the previous day struggled to burn off as many calories as the stress-free women. In fact, stress-free women burned 104 more calories than those who had one or more stressful events occur in the previous 24 hours.

This indicates that stress could add up to increases in weight of around 11 pounds every year.

In addition, stressed women had higher levels of insulin, which also contributes to fat storage.

Stress can cause a whole host of problems, both mental and physical – and this study suggests that there is a connection between stress and weight gain. Being overweight can increase the likelihood of developing a range of illness and disease including cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Although it is impossible to avoid everything that may cause stress, especially at work, it is imperative that employers look for ways to tackle stress within the workforce. Stress is a real cause of absenteeism in the workplace, and this can have a real impact on your business’ bottom line.

OHBM can help you to cultivate a healthier, more productive workforce. Talk to the team today.