Workplace stress: Tips for recognising and dealing with stress

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It’s such a curious thing, stress. Is it a feeling? An emotion? A series of troublesome thoughts? Everyone will experience stress differently, but the important thing to remember is that everyone does experience it in some form. According to research, 85% of UK adults experience stress regularly.

Still, how many people actually admit to experiencing it, especially when it occurs in the workplace? Unless you’ve immediately admitted to yourself and others every time you have been affected by workplace stress, you probably perceive that relatively few people are open about it.

Here are some tips for handling workplace stress effectively in your workplace.

Have any behaviours changed?

According to the UK Health and Safety Executive, stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 15.4m working days lost in 2017/18 – and there were probably many more when people didn’t admit the cause. Sudden and sporadic bouts of ill health amongst employees is the clearest indication that they are being affected by something other than frequent colds and stomach bugs.

However, there are other, more subtle factors to look out for, too. Have you ever known someone who’s suddenly changed from ‘Jack the lad’ into just, well, Jack, or even ‘jaded Jack’? Any change in emotional behaviour, eating habits or proneness to accidents and errors, or any dramatic change in weight, can indicate that a person is struggling to cope with stress.

Usually, stress will manifest itself in some form of behaviour change, although this is far from an exact science. Consider how you react to your own regular stressors and how others may perceive those reactions. Stress can remain a completely silent form of suffering and can be difficult to diagnose in anyone unless they admit it is there.

So, what can be done about it?

For you, it is simple. Speak to a medical professional, and discuss your problem with anyone in the workplace who is in a position to help. Okay, maybe that’s not so simple – otherwise, the entire 85% would do be doing it!

However, simple communication could certainly be key across your workforce. While individuals probably won’t want to be singled out, with the extra attention almost certain to cause them even more stress, a collaborative discussion not only helps to share key stress-busting information but also lets sufferers know that they are not alone.

During these discussions, people are more likely to speak up about factors that are causing them to feel unwell and suggest ideas that could help to relieve stress in the future. Simple skills that anybody can develop, such as mindfulness, can also become part of team meetings or one-on-one meetings implemented as a means of improving the well-being of all staff – not just those identified as suffering from stress.

Of course, there will inevitably be instances when people become too unwell to work, whether through mental or physical illness. These are risks that all employers face every day, and one of the many reasons that it pays to have the best contractors insurance your money can buy.

With the essential peace of mind brought by having this insurance in place, you can be more mindful of your own wellbeing as well as keep an eye on the behaviour of those who work for you. Give us a call today to discuss your cover.

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