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Stressed Employees? Why You Should Care

Posted in: General Health 02 Nov, 2015

Remember, remember the 4th of November, because it's National Stress Awareness Day. I bet Guy Fawkes dealt with some stress in his time. Let's make sure your employees don't end up like him.

What Is Stress Awareness Day?

It's a campaign that aims to bring our attention to workplace stress. The theme this year is 'Employee Wellbeing as a Worthwhile Investment In Your Business'.

Stress-Less Sweden

Sweden deserves some medals. Not only do they rock at parental leave and environmental policy, they have now reduced the working day to six hours. Any idea where your passport is and what Swedish house prices are like?

Sweden is doing this to improve lives and increase productivity. Some of the major cities cut the working day years ago and now report happier employees and less staff turnover.

What Should Employers Care About Stress?

Employees are worth money to an employer. Many employers have invested in their staff and those expensive training courses will walk out too if your staff leave. Plus if certain staff are specialists they can be costly and sometimes impossible to replace.

Besides, employers have legal and moral obligations to make sure staff are not hurt at work. There is always the chance of a medical negligence claim if you don't aim to support staff with stress.

Long-term stress leads to heart disease, depression, stroke and all manner of other issues like hair-loss, migraines and IBS. Studies show that those working a 55 hour week have a 33% greater chance of a stroke than those who work a standard 35-40 hours.

So What Are The Options?

• Start a stress awareness group and feedback to your employees. Allow them to share concerns. Yes it may lead to lots of whinging - but sometimes that whinging is a great stress reliever. Knowing someone is listening lowers blood pressure and promotes calmness.

• Promote stress management courses and encourage the use of holiday for relaxing and flexible working hours for childcare. Employers may think that a hard line on arrival time is the way to run a business, but a business won't win against a parent's need to care for their child.

• Speak to managers and union reps to get the anti-stress message across. Use email and notice boards to show staff you're trying to help with stress.

Here are some more innovative ways to deal with stress


  • Organise a lunchtime group walk, as exercise has been proven to reduce stress.

  • Organise some social activities or clubs because good relationships at work lessens resentment and makes for an enjoyable atmosphere that people thrive in.

  • Decorate. If your office is nicotine beige it will depress your employees. Fresh walls, some plants and new clean desks will work wonders.

  • A separate space to relax. Sometimes a few chairs and a table are all that's needed to make a 'common room' for lunch breaks.
Perhaps one of the most important aspects is to make sure everyone feels listened too. Sharing worries and brainstorming ways to lessen about big workloads or the threat of closure will help enormously. A problem shared is a... you know the rest.

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