Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Coping with stress in companies

It's typically said that stress doesn't care who you are, and when it comes to the workplace, stress can impact on workers at every level. In the following paragraphs we explain how stress management training can be very useful in combating workplace stress.


Stress at work

Are you currently harassed at work? You will not be on your own.

Work can be a hotbed for pressure, anxiety and all manner of panic and turmoil, no matter where you are on the career ladder. In fact, around 39% of UK work related illnesses in 2013/2014 were linked to stress, anxiety or depression (source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/stress/index.htm).

Are you in senior management, finding that stress generally comes in the form of investor targets, running the workforce and making redundancies? Or perhaps you are closer to the 'front line', struggling under the bureaucracy and managers who sometimes seem out of touch with reality?

The effects of stress in the workplace

Though employees may worry about admitting to suffering stress, for fear of being thought of as weak, the sad fact is that stress underpins a large proportion of sick leave and absenteeism. Co-workers who have to cover extra duties can really feel the pressure of a colleague's absence; this in turn can create more stressed employees, and bad feelings such as anger or resentment. And, of course, what suffers most is your customer, as productivity drops and staff turnover and further health absences increase.

Even the most effective, knowledgeable and dedicated staff member cannot continue to perform well indefinitely under increasing amounts of stress. Such are the challenges of the modern workplace that many are likely to carry on without asking for help until they reach the point where they struggle to make decisions, concentrate badly, and their memory and mood is affected. Anxiety or anger kicks in, and even the slightest bit of additional stress can send them spiralling downwards.

And all too often, this is the first time that it comes to the attention of the company, because they only notice when things begin to go wrong.

It’s often said that prevention is better than cure, and stress management coaching or training can help to prevent of correct this type of problem.

Helping staff who suffer workplace stress

Preventative measures can take the form of workshops or seminars, to educate your staff about the nature of stress, and teach techniques to increase resilience and cope better when stress levels are high. It’s also useful to consider improving skills such as assertiveness and dealing with anger for those who regularly come into contact with customers. Including effective stress management support into your EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) in the form of free or reduced cost support for individuals can pay dividends in terms of happier, more productive staff.

If stress is already a problem in the workplace, one to one therapy for those who are already off sick, those who are struggling the most or those who are most at risk can be the answer.

Employers can also find that a stressful home life, perhaps caring for elderly or infirm relatives, experiencing money problems or other personal issues, can still affect people's ability to perform as well as they want to at work. Sometimes stress caused by an underlying anxiety or past experience causes problems which exacerbate the stress of the current working conditions.

A good stress coach will look for these underlying problems as well as work factors, and remove or alter the effect it is having on the employee's mind, as well as teaching the employee how to relax and deal with stress more creatively. And the best part about it is that not only can this transform their working life, it can have a favourable influence on their home and personal life too.

It is a mutually beneficial situation for the employee and the company, and if companies invested more in their employee's mental health they would benefit in very real terms. As long ago as 2006, the CIPD Annual Survey Report said that

          'Companies that take action to reduce stress in the workplace are likely to generate
           enhanced value through reduced costs, increased productivity, better customer service,
           lower staff turnover and greater staff morale.'

If you are interested in putting some of these ideas into place in your workplace, please contact the author for advice.


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Author: is a professional stress management coach, specialising in working with individuals and smaller employers to minimise stress and maximise feeling in control.Debbie is has also written about helping people with IBS in the Hypnotherapy Handbook which is available from Amazon.co.uk.
Find out more about Debbie's services on www.yorkshirestressmanagement.com  or phone 01977 678593

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