Let those stats sink in for a moment.
40% is almost half of all work-related illnesses. An awful lot, isn’t it? Unfortunately, we have data that supports this. We carried out a survey earlier this year asking people about their new year’s resolutions, how likely they are to keep them and asked whether there is a link to work-related stress.
The findings were interesting – they did highlight that stress is a big issue, and not just in relation to our inability to keep new year’s resolutions.
Our survey found the following:
(To see all the stats, check out our infographic at the bottom of this article)
These stats are worrying. So, what can employers and managers do to help reduce work-related stress?
The stigma surrounding stress and mental health is still strong. Even though we are becoming more open about it, it is still a difficult topic to raise and talk about openly. But as employers and managers, there are lots of things you can do to help reduce this stigma and create an environment that not only encourages openness around mental health, but also helps people’s mental health.
First though, let’s talk about stress in more detail.
Stress isn’t classed as an illness, but it can cause physical illness and, if it turns into long-term stress, it can have a major effect on mental illness. It doesn’t just affect the person who is experiencing it either, but can have an effect on friends, family and colleagues.
Stress is usually a reaction to an excessive amount of pressure and demands placed on someone. Where some pressure can be a good driver and motivator, too much can become overwhelming and difficult to manage. There are many factors that can contribute to a build-up of stress and they can occur in all parts of our lives. Sometimes it is a reaction to work pressures, but work-related stress may also be caused by factors outside of the work place.
Work Related stress
Stress outside of work
Bullying, harassment and discrimination
Workload and deadlines
Lack of support
There are signs to look out for which could suggest that a colleague or a member of your team is struggling with stress, such as:
One of the best things a manager can do is to create an environment that is open and breaks down the barriers surrounding stress and mental health. This will take time, but it’s an important step. Here are some tips to create a healthy and open work environment:
Creating a positive and healthy culture in the workplace helps increase productivity and staff wellbeing, creates and more pleasurable atmosphere to work in and increases morale. Consider the list above, how does your environment fair in these areas? Where are your responsibilities? Are there areas which need improving?
If you want to find out more about work-related stress and mental health, we have created some free mental health toolkits for employers and their staff. They are packed with information, tips and resources.