Covid-19 has impacted how we work and has presented new challenges which are impacting our mental health
A business that takes a preventative approach to work related stress and who proactively manages the wellbeing of its employees will see improved productivity, higher staff retention and a reduction in absenteeism and presenteeism.
Understanding work related stress
According to the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) guideline on work related stress, they define stress as “the negative reaction people have to aspects of their environment as they perceive it,” and it goes on to state that “Work Related Stress is stress caused or made by work.”
This year’s lockdown proved to have a great impact on stress levels in Ireland. LinkedIn reported a spike in anxiety and loneliness among the professions working from home. It is without a doubt the same feelings of anxiety and stress were felt by those who temporarily or permanently lost their job due to Covid-19. We are experiencing a period of uncertainty for our health, wellbeing, employment, and social lives – this in turn creates additional stress and anxiety.
Measuring employee psychological wellbeing
Whilst it is important to understand the potential causes to workplace wellbeing, it is important to note that stress and work-related stress varies from individual to individual. Safeguarding one’s health from the effects of stress is based on the same approach as that for safeguarding against toxic chemicals or dangerous machinery. It is worth considering objective and anonymous methods of measuring the overall psychological wellbeing of your workforce.
An excellent method of achieving this if your business has ten or more employees is using the WorkPositive Tool. This is a confidential free online tool developed by the HSA that helps businesses find ways to improve employee wellbeing. It helps identify and measure psychosocial risks and workplace stressors. It provides online reports so that businesses can see their risk areas and it provides guidance on improving employee wellbeing.
Other methods of measuring employee wellbeing could be via anonymous online surveys such as SurveyMonkey, Google Docs or Microsoft Forms. The SFA partnered with DeCare who have a wealth of information on employee wellbeing on our Grow, Scale, Succeed platform.
Collaborate with staff for solutions
This collaborative approach means that both the employer and employee engage with each other to tackle work related stress. Collaboration increases employee relations and can create excellent ideas to resolve or minimise psychosocial hazards.
Implement a policy and procedure to manage and control work related stress issues
Once you have gathered your information from your employees you should create either a policy or action plan to manage and control work related stress issues. Providers such as DeCare can assist businesses in developing a policy.
A clear grievance procedure should be established to reassure employees, who are often reluctant to admit they are having difficulty coping, that they will be listened to and helped if they come forward. This is also an important tool in monitoring the effectiveness of the safeguards. Counselling should be provided where breakdowns occur in the safeguards, and work reassessments carried out.
Taking a proactive approach to tackling work-related stress in the workplace ensures that absenteeism and grievances will be minimised which means that productivity, employee health and morale will be more enhanced.
To learn more about managing stress and wellness watch back our mental health and COVID-19 webinar from earlier this year.
Read the latest edition of SFA Better Business magazine which includes articles on the role of wellness in the recovery from COVID-19, healthy eating tips and information on to put in place grievance procedures.
Join us at the at the SFA Online Employment Law Seminar 2020 on 16 September 2020 where you will hear from Dave Casey of DeCare Dental about how to work towards wellness in your organisation.