Stress in the workplace

Stress is a normal part of everyone’s life. In moderation it has a good effect, helping you to think more clearly and react more speedily to situations as they arise. However, long-term stress becomes negative and is counter-productive when you continually face stressful situations without relief or a relaxation between stressful events. It creates ill-health and leads to problems such as headaches, upset stomachs, high blood pressure, heart problems, disturbed sleep patterns, skin conditions, asthma and arthritis.

Stress also becomes harmful when people turn to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs to try to relieve their stress. Unfortunately, instead of relieving the stress and returning the body to a relaxed state, these substances tend to keep the body in a stressed state and cause more problems.

The Health and Safety Executive says around 10.4 million working days are lost each year to stress, depression or anxiety. Occupations with the highest rates of work-related stress are social work, teaching and public administration. The NHS says psychological problems, including stress, anxiety and depression, are behind one in five visits to a GP. Clearly, as a society, we have to learn some other ways of dealing with stress in the workforce.

One such method would be to instigate a wellbeing policy to you business. The first step is to recognise that whether you agree with staff taking time off for stress, it happens anyway. If the Doctor has signed the sick certificate, then you are legally bound to accept it. If it looks likely that you lose that member of staff for a period of time, then their role will need to be covered and this incurs extra expense for the business. As a business owner, it makes sense to create conditions within the work environment that allows workers to “down tools” or “forward the phone” and allow a simple therapy such as Indian Head Massage to be administered once a month.

For the therapist, with all the clients in one place and very little in the way of on costs, huge reductions can be made to the member of staff receiving the treatment making it possible for them to save money, as well as dealing with their stress and felling happier because life starts to improve for them. They also see their bosses as the hero and a forward thinker because they have created the opportunity for them to get some much needed stress relief.