City firm goes online to raise stress awareness

Staff at a City insurance firm are being given stress awareness training to
help them recognise the symptoms of the condition and prevent it affecting
their work and home lives.

General insurance company Markel has made the web-based training available
to all employees to try and raise awareness of stress in the traditionally
‘macho’ financial world.

Ella Gosling, Markel’s recruitment and training specialist, said the
training would also help the company comply with the Health and Safety
Executive’s new stress management standards that are due to be introduced next
year.

The modular programme teaches people a range of techniques to deal with
stress and staff are tested at the end of each section to make sure they
understand the key points.

These include taking regular breaks and communicating more openly about
workloads and deadlines.

Gosling said the online course would be placed on a separate e-learning area
of the company intranet, so that employees could access it at a time that was
convenient to them.

"This stress management programme will let people understand the
illness better and recognise their own threshold for stress. It’s a very
important area for us because it’s becoming more common in the workplace,"
she said.

The company has also just completed a similar programme for diversity, which
taught staff about equal opportunities legislation and their rights and
responsibilities.

So far, 125 employees (more than 25 per cent of the workforce) have been
tested on the e-based diversity course, which takes around 40 minutes to
complete.

"We want to make clear what behaviour is acceptable, and this is
building awareness among our staff. We also want a wider range of talent, and
this will ensure people are aware of the relevant legislation," Gosling
added.

By Ross Wigham

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