A certain amount of pressure can help employees perform, feel motivated and challenged. However excessive or prolonged periods of pressure can lead to stress.
Stress affects people in different ways, but can affect an employee’s physical or psychological wellbeing, or make existing problems worse. It can impact an employee’s work life, work performance, and their personal life.
Proactively talking to employees to understand where stress may arise at work and where employees feel there are gaps in your control measures, will help you identify opportunities for improvement to prevent work-related stress occurring and keep your workforce thriving.
Demands: Are demands of the job realistic and deadlines achievable? Do employees have any training needs to ensure their skills match the demands of the work? Is the work environment and job design suitable?
Control: Do employees feel they are consulted with regarding how work is done? Can they use their skills and initiative to do their work? Are employees given opportunities to grow and develop? Can they control the pace of work, how it is done and when breaks are taken?
Support: Do employees feel supported by one another and by managers? Are there sufficient resources (tools, equipment and people etc.) available and do employees know how to access them? Are employees given regular, constructive feedback on performance?
Relationships: Have employees experienced unacceptable behaviour at work? Where issues have been reported, do they feel issues were resolved swiftly and fairly? Are there confidential ways to report unacceptable behaviour? Are employees given opportunities to bond and socialise to create good relationships?
Role: Are employees clear on their roles and responsibilities at work? Do employees have objectives and understand how they can be achieved and what success looks like? Do employees understand how they contribute to the overall success of the organisation?
Change: Do employees feel they are informed and consulted with on change, including why it is happening and are kept up to date? Do they understand how proposed changes will affect them at work? Are there training requirements to help them adapt to change? Do employees know how to give feedback or report concerns about change?
During these conversations you may identify issues that fall within one or more of the categories above. Where you do, you should record where action is needed, by who, and develop a plan of implementation which is regularly reviewed and kept up to date.
Here at System Concepts, we carry out independent and anonymous organisational stress surveys. Our insights inform employers where action is needed to improve organisational wellbeing and meet the stress management standards.
We also carry out independent, individual stress risk assessments for employees working in the professional services, public, educational and charitable sectors. Our findings and reports support employers with providing tailored support directly to people at work.