How To Manage Work-Related Stress
Work-related stress (WRS) is stress caused or made worse by work. In simpler terms, it is when a person sees the work environment in such a way that his or her reaction involves the feeling of inability to cope. Stress can affect individuals in many ways, both in the workplace and in the social/home sector.
Over 11 million working days are lost each year because of work-related stress, and stress can contribute to conditions such as anxiety or depression.
Who is likely to be affected by work-related stress?
Anyone can be affected by work-related stress, but as we are all individuals, it can affect people at all different tolerance levels. If someone perceives that they can not cope with tasks or the pressure of the work given, then stress can be the automatic reaction.
In our Highfield Level 3 Award in Health and Safety course and our Highfield Level 4 Award in Health and Safety course, we discuss work-related stress in more detail. We also offer two Mental Health courses; the one-day QA Level 2 Award in Understanding Mental Health and the two-day QA Level 3 Award in Mental Health First Aid.
What are the symptoms of work-related stress?
When you feel overwhelmed at work, symptoms may be that you lose confidence or become angry. Other signs of excessive stress at work include feeling anxious, irritable or depressed.
What can cause stress in the workplace?
There are many causes of stress in the workplace. It may be one big thing causing you anxiety, or it could be several small pressures. Because of this, it is hard to identify what is making you feel stressed or to explain it to others, but the leading causes can be:
- being under lots of pressure
- facing big changes
- worrying about something
- not having much or any control of a situation
- having too much responsibility
- not having enough work or activities
- aggression and bullying
- times of uncertainty
Let us not forget that situations outside of work may be a trigger for stress too. Such as:
- family or marital problems
- money problems
How can you reduce stress in the workplace?
Reducing work-related stress can be something as simple as having a good chat and listening. Other ways to reduce stress could be:
- tracking your stressors. Keep a journal for a week or two to identify which situations create the most stress and how to respond to them
- develop healthy responses to situations
- establish boundaries and limitations
- take time out to re-charge and relax
- communicate with others
- seek support if it is needed
How can you manage stress in the workplace?
Managing stress in the workplace can contribute in many ways to creating a positive and enjoyable place to work.
Examples of positive contributions include:
- Lead by example
- Introduce workplace wellness schemes which could help reduce stress, e.g. gym discounts or a lunchtime running club
- Communicate well with all employees
- Provide a chill-out space at work so staff can let off steam and re-charge
- Create social activities to encourage staff to enjoy and enhance each other’s company both in and out of work
Is stress reportable under RIDDOR?
Under the Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013, stress is not reportable. Stress-related ill health is a complex issue, and it is exceedingly challenging to link stress-related ill health to specific types of work activity.