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Excessive stress in the workplace can have devastating results for both employees and their companies, but there are ways to reduce stress and its impact.
Occupational stress is proven to be one of the biggest health issues in the workplace. Thousands of companies across the land need to focus more on recognising the signs of undue work stress and manage their demands on employees before it reaches crisis level.
The definition of stress by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is ‘the reaction people have to excessive demands or pressures, arising when people try to cope with tasks, responsibilities or other types of pressure connected with their job, but find difficulty, strain or worry in doing so.’ A Labour Force Survey conducted by the HSE showed that 15.4 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2017/2018, while a previous survey revealed that 44% of stress was caused by an increased workload.
The law states that companies are responsible for the safety of their employees at work, and this includes mental wellbeing as well as physical. While a certain level of stress in the workplace is to be expected, such as working to tight deadlines and reaching sales targets, when stress hits a level where it affects an employee’s physical and mental health it can be severely detrimental and result in long-term sick leave.
A new report from MetLife UK, entitled Mental Health and Stress: Building Employee Resilience in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, claims that 34% of employers were aware of increased stress in their workplace, and nearly six out of ten employers recognised the importance of helping their staff build more resilience to stress in the workplace. The report also showed that only 37% of employees thought that their company was honest about the demands of the job at interview stage, although more than half of recruiting managers believed they were suitably informative to any potential employees.
There are various different types of stress you can experience at work, including increased demands of the job, when employees feel overloaded by the sheer amount of work they are asked to do on a regular basis, a lack of support by managers and colleagues, to having a poor work-life balance.
However, there is still a stigma attached to work stress and folk are often worried that they’ll be seen as weak and not coping if they admit to struggling in their day-to-day roles.
Thankfully, we are seeing seeds of change being sown in the employment landscape. Since the introduction of Working Time Regulations, which limits the length of the working week and insists all employees receive paid holiday, the biggest change to the working environment in recent years is the increase in companies offering flexible working hours.
Companies who offer flexible working tend to experience less workplace stress from their employees who appreciate the improved work-life balance. According to a study by PWC, more than 90% of the Millennial generation think flexible working is one of the most important factors in deciding which company to work for.
Regus serviced offices include a range of different business options from meeting rooms and day offices to think pods and virtual offices, all of which can benefit companies as they work towards reducing stress in the workplace.
Find out more about flexible office solutions by visiting the nearest Regus to you