can prove a major headache for firms, leading to misunderstandings and getting
in the way of productivity. Dr Rosemary Anderson, chair of International Stress Management Association
UK gives some advice on how to cut stress at work
Adopt the attitude that stress is not a weakness, and develop this culture
within your department.
perfect, we all have too much pressure from time to time, and stress can affect
anyone given an accumulation of circumstances. Foster the mindset that it isn’t
a weakness to seek help if you are not coping – it’s a strength to admit it and
do something about it. Promote this as a developmental issue. Handling stress
is a proactive intervention to prevent ill health in your employees and your
Ensure you are not suffering from stress yourself.
stressed manager has a ‘knock-on effect’ throughout the organisation. Dealing
with your own stress will prevent your staff from suffering, and results in a
more relaxed and productive atmosphere.
Analyse your management style and behaviour.
yourself (honestly) if this is causing any stress. Good management is the best
proactive way of reducing organisational stress. A good manager:
Ensures a realistic understanding of the workload and time it should take
Sets individual work objectives and targets, and consults and discusses before
Gives clear, effective instructions
Makes sure he/she defines roles and tasks adequately – and discusses priorities
In times of high workload, prepares employees ahead
Varies work where possible, and provides opportunities for individuals to
influence the way they do their jobs
Delegates effectively, and not just the boring bits
Ensures staff have adequate training to do a good job, or coaches where
training is not possible
Gives fast feedback (both positive and negative), and constructive criticism
Is approachable. Admits to weaknesses and takes responsibility for own mistakes
of these could you improve upon?
Ensure the working environment is suitable
should make sure that there is not too much noise or overcrowding, for example.
poor working environment can cause employees a great deal of stress. While this
is sometimes impossible to change completely, many small things can be done to
improve the situation.
Help your staff to cope with change – no matter how big or how small.
introducing a change, listen to the views of your staff. How will it be for
possible, update employees on any changes taking place, and explain the reasons
those who resist change and help them to accept it. Listen to doubts and fears;
explain, coach, boost self-esteem. Check how things are progressing during and
possible, keep employees informed of all changes and major decisions. Listen to
your staff and hear what they are saying.
to your staff informally and regularly. It will be easier for them to come to
you or for you to approach them if there’s a problem.
your staff –you’ll learn a lot from watching.
Think of yourself in your employees’ shoes.
causes your staff stress may be healthy pressure to you, so do not belittle it.
Just because it isn’t a problem for you does not mean it isn’t a problem for
them. Remember, they might cope easily with issues that cause you stress.
Do regular, informal risk assessments of your staff to check nobody is
subjected to work-related stress.
Encourage your staff to attend a personal stress management course or provide
them with tips to help themselves.
Create an overall environment that promotes wellbeing.
that relaxed and happy employees will work more effectively, thus increasing
their own, and the organisation’s performance and productivity.
more information, visit www.isma.org.uk