Stress. One of the most commonly used words into today’s language.
This is not surprising since it cost the UK over £530 million in 2006, with that figure looking set to rise year on year.
Millions of people struggle to get the right work-life balance due to ever-increasing pressure and unless organisations start to ensure their employees remain mentally healthy then this trend looks set to continue and become more costly, and not just for the organisation but also the overall economy.
Stress is a very individual problem. For example, if 100 people were all in the same situation and experienced exactly the same circumstances, all 100 people would show and feel stress in different ways.
For this reason, stress has traditionally been ignored and was said to be a sign of weakness, after all the British image is renowned for having a stiff upper lip.
The ‘oh get on with it’ way of dealing with stress has now been exchanged for a more proactive approach by organisations and the Government alike.
The Government recognises the real impact stress has on UK businesses and because of this has created a set of Stress Management Standards that offer practical guidance in identifying and tackling stress within the workplace.
The Government created these standards to highlight the importance of being proactive when dealing with stress, as well as communicating to businesses the costs that stress can cause if ignored.
With stress gaining a lot of publicity, not just in business media but in the national media as well, it is no surprise that many organisations see combating stress as an important objective, after all UK business lost 14 million working days last year due to stress.
The ISMA, a registered charity that promotes stress prevention and well-being, created the first National Stress Awareness Day on the 7th November 2007.
A number of well-known figures such as Stephan Fry and Senator Feargal Quinn supported the day, with both stating that people needed to take stress more seriously.
The online support for the day consisted of preventative tips and exercises to deal with stress along with a game and an email card, all created for the sole purpose of generating awareness.
Due to publicity and the growing concerns of stress in the workplace, organisations themselves are looking for proactive methods for dealing with stress.
A popular choice is by using learning and development specialists like Righttrack Consultancy, who creates stress management programmes designed specifically around an organisation’s needs.
Many organisations are seeing great results using this method as the programme fully reflects the different areas of stress that their employees face with specific activities written by learning and development experts.
Whether it is a traditional method or a more holistic approach, addressing stress head on cannot be a bad thing. When looking into stress often it is the sheer workload and deadlines of employees that are the main contributions to growing stress levels.
So when looking into stress management programmes these areas need to be addressed carefully. After all, a stress management programme should not be the cause of added stress, worry or pressure.