National Stress Awareness Day

National Stress Awareness Day

By Jo Downend
05 November 2014

Wednesday 5th November 2014 is National Stress Awareness Day and this year the theme is Stress: the balancing act. It is sometimes difficult to keep the balance right in terms of work, play and lifestyle and so the day hopes to raise awareness of the numerous solutions that are available to achieve this balance.

Unfortunately, stress is not something that will just go away and stay away, instead organisations must proactively address stress and raise awareness so employees understand the trigger points and know who to speak to – for instance their line manager or occupational health team - when they are feeling stressed. 

The Health and Safety Executive is very clear with the responsibility of employers when it comes to stress: “All employers have a legal responsibility under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 to ensure the health safety and welfare at work of their employees. This includes minimising the risk of stress-related illness or injury to employees”.

It is important for employers to support employees and to help them get back to work as quickly as possible. Using a system such as ER Tracker, you can manage the stress management policies to ensure all the required steps are followed correctly. Against these steps, ER Tracker provides an estimated time-frame that drives reminders to HR Officers and ensures the steps are completed. This is vital because, after all, you do not want your employees at home for weeks before they are even referred to occupational health.

By managing cases of stress in ER Tracker, HR Managers can monitor all live cases across an organisation. If you have a number of staff absent from work with stress in the same department, or a particular line manager that has a high level of team members off work, or if you notice a number of staff go off work with stress following a change in working practices, the organisation has the visibility of this information and can make any necessary decisions based upon facts.

Research carried out in 2013, completed by Friends Life, has revealed that nearly five million people took a day off work due to stress in the previous year. According to the 2013 CBI / Pfizer Fit for Purpose Survey, sick leave is costing the UK economy £14bn a year.

So what can you do about stress? We’ve got a list of 5 handy points that you should consider;

 

  • Have a system to manage the stress management policies to ensure all the required steps are followed consistently
  • Increase awareness of stress with all staff so they can spot the symptoms of stress and request support early on
  • Monitor the reasons for stress and the areas they are occurring in to then create some specific interventions to reduce further stress on employees
  • Have managers lead by example and encourage staff to take annual leave regularly
  • Train line managers in how to support staff who are starting to feel stressed and work proactively with the employee to reduce stress levels before it gets worse

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