Mental health and stress problems accounts for 30 per cent of the total sickness absence in the NHS.
All you need to know in 30 seconds
- Stress accounts for about 30 per cent of NHS sickness absence, and can lead to long-term illnesses such as anxiety and depression.
- Open up conversations about stress with your employees. You don’t need to be a mental health expert, just emphasise that your aim is to support their wellbeing.
- Be approachable and make time to listen to and support your employees. Have protected time when employees can speak to you, and regular catch-ups to discuss workloads and stress management.
- Monitor the workload of your employees to ensure it is manageable; this will help your employees identify and manage their own causes of stress in the workplace.
- Promote a good work-life balance in line with the Board’s Work-Life Balance policies, and encourage employees involvement in physical activities and social events.
- Ensure employees know about resources available to deal with stress, such as occupational health services and the resources available on HR Connect’s Self Help page or via the Board’s Staff Health website.
- Where absence is due to work-related stress click here for further details on the process to be followed.
All you need to know in detail
Although stress itself is not an illness, prolonged exposure to unmanageable stress can lead to long-term illnesses, such as anxiety and depression. Therefore managing stress is a key part of your role in creating a mentally healthy workplace.
While stress is sometimes seen as a challenging issue to talk about, you don’t need to be an expert in mental health to support your employees. Having open conversations with employees about their stress can make a big difference to how well they are able to manage it.
Be clear about the reason you are speaking to the employee, as well as emphasising that you are talking to them to support their wellbeing. Reasons why you might want to speak to an employee about stress include poorer performance, lateness or any changes in their behaviour that you or colleagues have noticed.
It is important for you to be seen as approachable and make time for your employees. Have protected time when employees can speak to you, as well as regular catch-ups. Catch-ups with employees are an opportunity to start a conversation about managing stress and for this to be seen as a normal part of line management.
You can support your employees to manage stress by:
- Familiarising yourself with the Board’s Stress in the Workplace Policy and associated guidance
- monitoring the workload of your employees to ensure it is manageable; this will help your employees identify and manage their own causes of stress in the workplace
- reducing the financial impact of workplace stress and absence on employees
- encouraging employees to have a good work-life balance, including being involved with social events and physical activities, which are shown to boost employees health, team work and mental wellbeing
- promoting and teaching employees about relevant organisational policies, such as flexible working
- treating all your employees consistently and fairly, and providing positive feedback to them when they do a good job
- making employees aware of the internal resources that are available to them such as occupational health services and the resources available on HR Connect’s Self Help page or via the Board’s Staff Health website following-up problems on behalf your team as soon as they arise.