Industrial Society call for open policy over stress

The difficulty of achieving a healthy work-life balance is adding to
employees’ stress levels, according to HR managers.

Nearly 70 per cent of respondents to an Industrial Society survey cite a
lack of balance between work and home life as a major factor in occupational
stress. But poor communication and tight deadlines are also a major cause of
stress for the 500 HR professionals surveyed.

Eighty-six per cent feel that stress is a problem in their organisation,
with over a third believing it to be a significant issue.

The report calls on employers to improve their management training, with 95
per cent of those polled believing that supportive managers are best placed to
help employees cope with work-based stress.

Nearly 80 per cent believe that absenteeism is the main symptom of stress.

Pat McGuiness, occupational health expert at the Industrial Society, said,
"Employees need to feel they can talk about stress without fear of
recrimination. In this way companies get a more accurate picture of negative
processes, practices and bad job designs which compromise employee

Employers need to introduce flexible working and a family- friendly culture,
claims the report. Forty-four per cent of respondents want organisations to
implement flexible working arrangements, while one third would encourage
employers to adopt a family-friendly culture.

McGuiness calls on companies to incorporate a stress policy. He said,
"The pace of change in organisations is not being matched by the
development of employee well-being, which should include safety nets such as
effective stress policies and good job designs. Having a comprehensive stress
policy, which is part of the organisational fabric and develops with the
organisation, can help reduce the likelihood of individuals experiencing
occupational stress, improving productivity levels and so benefit the bottom

By Paul Nelson

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