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Managing Stress in the workplace

In a recent Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Employee Outlook Survey, it was found that the proportion of people in the UK who are satisfied with their job has increased from 26% in 2006 to 46% in 2009. However, the survey also suggests that the current economic climate is affecting employees’ morale and commitment, with 3/4 of employees claiming that their company has been affected by the recession. Over half of the respondents (52%) claim that an increase in work-related stress has been the consequence.

There has also been an increase in the proportion of people who say that they are worried as a result of their job and 60% of respondents stated that they are worried by the future. 37% of employees are worried about being made redundant which is understandable as 36% of respondents reported that their organisation has made redundancies or is planning to cut jobs as a result of the economic downturn.

The Outlook Survey has also shown that employers are cutting back on training (17% of respondents) and 18% have frozen pay. The report also illustrated that less than 1/5 of employees agree that they trust senior managers. As a result of this report, Park City would like to suggest some potential strategies for employers who fear that stress in their workforce may rise and become a problem, especially in the current economic climate.

The HSE have published “Management Standards” for work-related stress which state that if stress is not properly managed, the possible results may include poor health and well-being for employees, lower productivity and potentially; increased sickness absence. The Management Standards cover the 6 primary sources of stress at work:

  1. Demands – the workload, work patterns and work environment
  2. Control – how much control the employee has in the way they can undertake their work
  3. Support – the sponsorship, encouragement and resources provided by managers and colleagues in the workplace
  4. Relationships – how unacceptable behaviour is handled and promoting positive working
  5. Role – whether employees have conflicting roles and whether employees understand their role within the firm
  6. Change – how organisational change is managed and communicated in the firm

The HSE recommend that employers regularly undertake risk assessments for individual employees, allowing a good assessment of the current working situation. Employers should work with employees, building relationships and trust and decide on practical improvements that can be made. The CIPD argue that training is the key to reducing work-related stress. Managers must learn how to detect the early signs of stress and learn how to help vulnerable employees to cope. Park City can offer both of these methods recommended by the HSE and the CIPD to help employers deal with stress:

Dealing with work related stress – 1. Risk Assessments

Park City’s consultants can work with clients to undertake risk assessments with any employees who might be struggling to cope with work-related stress. These risk assessments will help to evaluate the underlying causes of stress and offer suggestions to both the employer and employee on methods to prevent the problem from escalating. Risk assessments are also an excellent way for managers to gauge their current performance in tackling the key causes of stress.

Dealing with work related stress – 2. Training

The government recently proposed that an investment in skills training must be a priority to help the UK recover from the negative downturn in the economy. In this respect, an increase in people management skills training is crucial to enable managers to learn how to detect the early signs of stress.

Park City offer many varied and bespoke training courses for employers and employees. For example, Park City’s ‘How-to’ Workshops and Executive Briefings provide an excellent way for employers to gain the knowledge and skills required to manage their people in line with current employment law and best practice.

In the current economic climate it appears inevitable that stress will be a problem for many businesses and employees. Please do not hesitate to contact Park City today, to find out how we can help you and your business cope with the demands of day-to-day business, not just in the present but for many years to come.

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