Workplace Stress

Workplace Stress
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Since 1992, April has been Stress Awareness month. Workplace stress often occurs when the demands of the workplace environment are greater than the worker’s ability to control them. If this occurs for a long period of time or is exhibited as an intense period, it could lead to health issues. This blog will look at what workplace stress is and what you can do to combat it.

Workplace Stress

According to the HSE, workplace stress is ‘a harmful reaction people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work’. It accounts for over a third of reported ill health and 43% of ill health related absence from work. Although workplace stress isn’t deemed an illness, it can lead to numerous health problems. It is therefore essential that you’re able to recognise stress not only in others, but yourself as well.

Below are some symptoms to look out for in both yourself and others.

Symptoms in yourself:

  • Poor concentration
  • Constant tiredness
  • Increased worrying
  • Anxiety/Depression
  • Headaches

Symptoms in others:

  • Mood changes
  • Loss of motivation/concentration
  • Poor time keeping
  • Poor work performance
  • Increased time of work

Knowing these symptoms will help prevent long term health problems. You need to consider that everyone is different, therefore they will have different reactions to environmental factors. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is important to talk to someone or the stress could build up causing further health implications. Furthermore, if you notice someone else with symptoms of stress, talk to them and see if everything is alright.

Health Implications Of Stress

440,000 people in Britain believe that they experience work related stress at a level that makes them ill. Below are some of the most common health implications that are caused by stress:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Ulcers
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Psychological effects (Anxiety, Depression, etc.)

This shows that stress is a serious matter and shouldn’t be overlooked. The sooner the symptoms can be identified, the greater chance of preventing health implications. For this, you need to know some of the common stress management techniques.

Dealing With Stress

There are many ways to help reduce stress levels. Some methods will be more effective for some than others so try more than one to see what works for you.

  • Exercise
  • Don’t try and control the uncontrollable
  • Manage your work load – don’t work excessive hours
  • Improve Diet
  • Reduce alcohol intake and stop smoking
  • Relaxation techniques (Meditation, yoga, etc)

Some methods can be quite easy to carry out. For example, exercising can be as little as going for a walk. Recognition, acceptance and commitment are essential for the individual dealing with stress. If stress is continuous, consult a doctor. Don’t let the symptoms progress on the belief that things will get better on their own. Whilst this can sometimes be the case, often it is not and you’ll be putting yourself at harm.

Role Of The Employer

As an employer, it’s important you’re understanding with workers experiencing stress. Whether they need someone to talk to or need some time off to recover, make sure you’re reasonable or you could increase their stress levels. In the long run, the better you deal with the stressed worker, the quicker their stress levels reduce and they return to their usual self.

If someone comes to you about their stress levels, keep it confidential or they won’t want to share their problems with you. Furthermore, check that no one else in the workforce is experiencing the same levels of stress. If numerous people are experiencing stress then there could be an environmental factor that needs changing in the workplace such as excessive workplace temperatures or noise etc. Moreover, the job role may be too demanding for the employee’s capabilities. If this is the case, changing the job description may be the best way to help tackle the stress.


Eric’s Top Tip

‘Make sure you have regular contact and are communicating with your employees (This applies to home workers). It’s only through communication and contact that you will be able to identify the early symptoms of stress and work together towards a suitable solution’.


How Sure Safety Can Help

Stress can lead to high absenteeism and decreased productivity. Sure Safety’s consultants can help by conducting risk assessments to identify factors that could be causing high levels of stress. In addition, we can provide stress awareness training to help you and your employees identify the symptoms and we can review you policies to make sure stress is identified.

To arrange a consultation , call 029 2086 8802 or email

Sure Safety can offer consultancy in the following areas: Health and Safety, Risk Assessment, Fire, Accreditation, Training and Policies, Planning and Management Systems. For more information on these services, look at our website.  Or you can check out our Twitter and Facebook.