Today is National Stress Awareness Day and according to The International Stress Management Association (ISMA) stress is everywhere. It is one of the most common conditions experienced by people in the UK today. People going to work whilst suffering stress contribute to poor performance of businesses and services which can, in turn, be a contributor to poor care, errors, and disasters caused by lack of concentration. The financial cost to the UK has been estimated at £60 billion, that’s around £1000 per man, woman and child. The theme for this year is ‘Going the Extra Mile’ this is because the ISMA believes the energy, enthusiasm, motivation and concentration in a stress free environment, provokes people to have greater interest in others and to contribute more.
My colleague, Neil Pickering offers some thoughts on reducing stress in the workplace:
‘National Stress Awareness Day serves as a reminder to organisations of the importance on reducing stress in the workplace. Not only can stress have a negative impact on the company’s profitability and productivity, but unhappy employees can become less productive and lead to high levels of absenteeism.
However, many managers only find out an employee is unhappy in their role on the day they leave or hand in their notice, and by this time it is often too late to rectify the situation. Our recent report, ‘The Forgotten Workforce’ found only 25% of workers think their employer is very good at ensuring the right people are in the right place at the right time and 46% of respondents said that colleagues failed to turn up for shifts at least once a month. For front-line workers this directly impacts their ability to do their job, and increases stress levels whilst negatively impacting service levels. Equally 22% of workers are victim to regular unpaid overtime, leading to financial worry and concerns about paying bills and covering basic expenses, all of which continues to attribute to high levels of stress.
In order to promote a stress free culture, employees need a stronger dialogue with employers. Simple steps like recording reasons for employee absence, ensuring there is the correct number of people available for each shift and adequate means to monitor overtime can limit levels of stress in the work place, as well as increasing job satisfaction. Therefore, businesses should be looking towards workforce management solutions to help manage their workforce, and provide employees with the flexibility and control over their working hours that they need.’
How big an impact do you think stress is having on your work? Take the poll (it’s completely anonymous) and let’s find out how big the problem is and I would be interested to hear your comments: