The workplace can often be one of the main stressors in day to day life, and while sometimes pressure can make us energised and alert, it can also have the opposite effect.
A study conducted by Johansson found that repetitiveness, high demand/workload and lack of control were all factors which were linked to higher levels of stress in the workplace. This stress then increased illness, which suggested that it was a form of chronic stress as opposed to acute stress. Chronic stress uses a different physiological response in which a steady supply of energy is maintained, but the immune system is compromised in the process.
According to global recruitment specialists Randstad, people working in nursing, teaching, caring and social work are most vulnerable to stress. However, workplace stress can occur in any industry and pressure, lack of support from managers, and violence or bullying in the workplace can add to stress levels.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) previously introduced a work-related stress management standard which includes looking at the following factors to assess and manage stress:
- Demand – workloads and the work environment
- Control – individual control over day to day tasks
- Support – management support, encouragement, and resources
- Relationships – working relationships with colleagues and management, assessing tension
- Role – understanding the role and what is expected of you
- Change – how change is managed, e.g. sudden or slow-burning
Assessing and managing stress in the workplace
By ensuring they do everything they can to minimise stress in the workplace, companies can help reduce the risk of their employees suffering from chronic stress. This will then help reduce illness within the business, and reduce absenteeism due to work-related stressors which will ultimately help make the workplace a more productive environment.
Randstad identified that the work-life balance was a vital factor in work-related stress and found that, in 2015, 49% of UK employees were unhappy with their current work schedule because it interfered with this. It was also found that a third of the UK population worked more than 40 hours per week during this time, leaving little time for much else in their spare time.
Battling stress at work
Some quick ways to battle stress in the workplace include:
- Taking a walk round the block at lunch time
- Making sure you don’t eat at your desk so you give yourself a break
- Giving yourself time to step away from your desk is crucial
- Asking for help when you need it or feel you are under too much pressure
- Making sure you are still spending enough time at home
Following on from Randstad’s research, it is clear that work-life balance is a crucial part in battling stress, with many people suffering from a poor balance due to the long-hours culture. Because people commute longer distances to and from work now, and often work long days, this additional absence from home can add to domestic pressures. Whether that is children, partners, or chores building up to add to existing stress levels. It is crucial that work-related stress is managed quickly, and effectively, before it starts making a longer, lasting impact on your life. You can read more about the study and research that Randstad conducted here.
Randstad, global recruitment specialist and service providers