Managing Stress Apr 2010


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Reducing stress and promoting wellbeing in the workplace

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  • Typical causes of work-related stress include workload, work responsibilities, work difficulty manager style Stress affects immune systems – in turn leaving you more susceptible to illness.Flu season - Christmas storyMany Studies have linked workplace stress and absenteeism.According to the HSE ‘Stress in one of the main causes of sickness absence.What happens to body? Fight or flight response.Not healthy to operate from a state of stress.Desk workers going home exhausted!
  • 1. Conduct a stress auditUse existing data to judge your current position, such as exit interviews and sickness, absence and staff turnoverrecords. Start surveying staff as to their attitude and experience of stress at work, eg through the HSE survey, measuring performance against the six Management Standards (see Or call in a consultant to coordinate a company-wide stress audit.2. Write a stress policy Now you know your issues, tackle them through a comprehensive stress policy. Write this yourself, or ask your consultant to do it. The policy should cover stress and mental health policies and must comply with HSE guidelines. 3. Train staffCompany-wide training will be helpful to all. It gives employees the stress-management techniques they need in their day-to-day jobs. And it helps managers understand the company’s new stress policy, not only recognising stress symptoms in colleagues, but knowing how to react appropriately. 4. Get some supportUse stress-management products to support your company stress policy. Consider a stress monitor machine for communal staff areas, stress balls printed with a corporate message, or 'mood cards' with a stress monitor the size of a business card that can be used time and time again. For these and other ideas, see Get recognised The Stress Management Society runs an award scheme for companies that lead the way in managing stress at work. You can enter your company for the award at any time via It’s an excellent way to show your team (and the world) that you mean business when it comes to stress management at work.Know the impact to you and your organisation!There are clear benefits to addressing work-related stress:• quality of working life: employees feel happier at work and perform better• management of change – introducing a new systems or new patterns of work are easier when 'stress' is managed effectively• employment relations: problems can be resolved at work rather than at an employment tribunal• attendance and sickness: attendance levels go up and sickness absence goes down Stop the problems of staff turnover Become an employer of choice and attract a better calibre of employee
  • “…A 1% increase in productivity at no cost.”Work stress Health and safety issues at work Personal mental health problems Poor physical health Long term sicknessWhat did we do?After recognising these adverse effects we created a cultures and values programme including the following health initiatives: The development of a stress management programme for all staffA counselling service for staff to discuss work and personal mattersAn occupational therapist advice service for staffRegular smoking cessation sessions by external consultants  A driving safety initiativeStaff discounts on bicycle purchasesMassage sessions for all staff at head officeCorporate discounts at local gyms for all staffChanged menus at staff restaurants to reflect a healthy eating policyBlood pressure testing sessions for staff at head officeNew processes to manage long term sickness absence
  • Managing Stress Apr 2010

    1. 1. Managing Stress and Promoting Wellbeing Neil Shah The Stress Management Society
    2. 2. What is stress? The Stress Management Society’s definition: • Stress (noun) a situation where demand on a person exceeds that person’s resources or ability to cope
    3. 3. What is the scale of the problem? • 13.5 million working days are lost to stress at a cost of £3.7 billion a year • Our recent survey suggests that: • 60% say it damages staff retention. • 83% say it is harming productivity. • 78% of people say stress is affecting their mood, health and sleep • yet 61% have not taken any steps to get professional advice.
    4. 4. Understand the true impact of Stress • In 2008/09 an estimated 415 000 individuals in Britain believed that they were experiencing work-related stress at a level that was making them ill, according to the Labour Force Survey. • The 2009 Psychosocial Working Conditions (PWC) survey indicated that around 16.7% of all working individuals thought their job was very or extremely stressful. • The annual incidence of work-related mental health problems in Britain in 2008, as estimated from the THOR surveillance schemes, was approximately 5,126 new cases per year. However, this almost certainly underestimates the true incidence of these conditions in the British workforce. • According to self-reports from the LFS an estimated 230 000 people, who worked in the last 12 months, first became aware of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2008/09, giving an annual incidence rate of 760 cases per 100 000 workers. • Estimates from the LFS indicate that self-reported work-related stress, depression or anxiety accounted for an estimated 11.4 million lost working days in Britain in 2008/09. • THOR surveillance data from General Practitioners indicates that 30.9% of all diagnoses of work-related ill-health are cases of mental ill-health, with an average length of sickness absence per certified case of 26.8 working days.
    5. 5. Is stress the main cause of sickness absence? • Workplace stress is directly responsible for 25% of sickness absence • Up to 70% of visits to a doctor are triggered by stress, • Stress is linked to heart disease, diabetes, several cancers and many other serious health conditions. As much as 85% of all serious illnesses could be caused by stress.
    6. 6. What is the link between stress and absenteeism? • The human body is not designed to live in a state of stress • The immune system becomes suppressed • People are therefore much more susceptible to illness
    7. 7. How to recognise the impact of stress on your organisation • Low morale, low self-expectations and consequentially, low productivity • High sickness absence, with adverse consequences for colleagues that pick up the work of those absent • High staff turnover
    8. 8. Know your responsibilities Under current legislation, employers have two duties: 1. To risk-assess whether work activities cause stress-related ill health (under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999) 2. To take measures to control that risk (under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974) 3. Certain offences can now be tried in a Crown Court, of two year jail sentences and an unlimited fine. (under The Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008)
    9. 9. Do you know: • The cultural & commercial cost of stress and absence in your business? • How you compare against your peers in stress and its management? • From a risk-management point of view, how much you are exposed? • What practical actions have you taken that have made a difference?
    10. 10. The stress management standards • The Health and Safety Executive’s Stress Management Standards set out a structure for employers to follow • They cover several areas: – the demands made on employees – the level of control employees have over their work – the support employees receive from managers and colleagues – the clarity of an employee's role within the organisation – the nature of relationships at work – and the way that change is managed
    11. 11. What action can we take? Follow our approach: 1. Understand the financial impact of stress 2. Conduct a stress audit 3. Write (or amend) a stress/mental health policy 4. Train your people 5. Put support systems in place 6. Incorporate wellbeing activities in your culture 7. Review and evaluate
    12. 12. Stress Testing days for your office: • 20 minute health and lifestyle evaluation to understand impact of stress and lifestyle issues. • Equipment used: - Stress Thermometer – a biofeedback device - RESPeRATE – measures resperation rate (breaths per minute) which can be impacted by stress - Blood Pressure Monitor - Freeze- Framer – Reads Heart Rate Variability - Body Analysis Test - Calculates body weight, body mass index, body fat and body water
    13. 13. Wellbeing Workshops • Incorporate a ‘lunch and learn’ wellbeing training workshop into the day. • 2 hour, half day or full day workshop options. • Group sizes of approx 25 people (max of 35 people).
    14. 14. Wellbeing Workshops • Understanding Stress – What is stress? What does it mean? – How does it affect us? – What is the purpose of stress? – When is it beneficial/appropriate? • Stress Evaluation Exercise • Desk Yoga techniques – Breathing and stretching exercises • Self Massage techniques • Creative Visualisation • 10 Step stress reduction guide • Questions and Feedback
    15. 15. Case study - EDF Energy What was the impact of addressing workplace health issues? • From 2003 to 2006, 1191 employees with psychological health difficulties were treated by ESP. In line with the objectives of the programme, significant improvements included: A reduction in overall sickness absence from 3.9% in 2004 to 3.6% in 2006 • A drop in working days lost per employee due to psychological ill health from 1.76 in 2004 to 1.35 in 2006 affecting a cost saving in sickness absence alone of approximately £1.3m • A decrease in psychological ill health caused by work. In 2003, 52.6% of people who used the programme were classified as having psychological difficulties related to work circumstances. By 2006 this figure had dropped to 35% • A reduction of more than 50% in the number of people off work at the time of referral Case studies from
    16. 16. Case study – Bradford and Bingley What was the impact of addressing workplace health issues? • Staff turnover is down from 30.1% in 2005 to 23.3% in 2006. The staff survey result for recommending Bradford & Bingley as a place to work has increased from 45% in 2005 to 72% in 2006 • Two thirds of those who attended the smoking cessation coarse and had their progress monitored have quit smoking • An increased number of staff have taken part in the pilates sessions and have purchased bicycles through the company scheme • Bradford & Bingley's stress absence rate is down 80%, which is estimated to have saved £250k in lost wages alone. There has also been about a 1% increase in productivity at no cost Case studies from
    17. 17. 0844 357 8629