Stress – recently labelled the biggest cause of absence at work.

There can be a number of other reasons for staff absence; mental health (includes stress), physical health and as a result of working environments. There are also many ways to combat these issues.

However, stress is what this post will focus on.

Stress and staff absence come hand-in-hand. And staff absence can cost small companies £1,500 a year – it’s serious business.

So what preventative measures are you taking to ensure it minimally affects your company? If the answer is "none" or "not many", then the following is definitely worth a read!

What can I do to combat stress in my company?

What causes stressed employees in your company? Research this. You can then proactively put initiatives in place in an attempt to prevent stress in the future.

In some cases, this is not always possible. Stressed employees can be inevitable. In this scenario, there are a number of processes and procedures you can put in place to manage this. Absence management solutions can help managers to identify trends in days off. With factual information, senior members of staff can approach employees about their absence and work to solve the issue.

Identify those suffering from stress

First and foremost: You should attempt to identify your stressed employees. But this may not be an easy task.

They are unlikely to come forward and admit that they’re suffering from stress. It’s possible that they’re not even aware of it themselves. So you must take it upon yourself to do something about it.

Inconsistent work performance. Loss of motivation. Excessive hours spent in the office. Lateness & taking longer lunch breaks. Sensitivity. Irritability. These are all signs you should look out for that indicate that an employee may be suffering from stress.

Be a caring employer

Offer flexible working patterns. Allowing employees to fit their work life around their home life (and vise versa) may help them avoid becoming stressed with conflicting commitments. This will be particularly applicable to working parents.

Offer support. This could be in the form of counselling or mentoring. Face-to-face or telephone counselling will allow your employees to confidentially air their concerns and consequently, deal with them.

On an individual-to-individual basis, you can review their workload. They may have more food on their plate than they can eat! The volume of their workload may be unachievable; thus they are unable to cope. You can then address this accordingly.

Put these plans into action

Well maybe it’s not quite as simple as that, but I hope the above helps you to minimise the negative impact of stress. With the right procedures in place, managers can significantly improve their work environment. 

Comments welcome.