More top tips to help fight workplace stress
In the final part in an IOSH series to mark Stress Awareness Month, this April, our Advice and Practice team offers these top tips – for health and safety managers and for businesses.
Tips for health and safety managers
• Understand: get to know the hazards, risks, causes and potential triggers of work-related stress within the organisation
• Review: look at current workplace practices, policies and procedures - are they fit for purpose?
• Learn from good practices: network with similar organisations to find case studies of good practice methods aimed at eliminating or reducing work-related stress that can be used or adapted in your organisation
• Deliver a plan for change: use the ‘plan, do, check, act’ model to identify how you are going to make changes and when to implement them
• Communicate: make clear to the organisation what changes need to be made. Remember to include milestones and dates of when things will start to change and when a review will take place
• Support: help workers who are dealing with work-related stress. They may need internal support from the organisation, or from external professionals. Encourage workers to raise issues with their line managers or support network, such as an employee representative committee if they feel there is an issue
• Engage with workers: provide information on mental health risks, including work-related stress, to raise awareness. Gather worker feedback on their concerns relating to work-related stress and provide ways this can be done confidentially.
Tips for businesses
• Commit: demonstrate your commitment by implementing a stress risk assessment, establish policy and procedures that are managed and reviewed as part of the business risk and reporting structure
• Communicate: with workers and their representatives on risk factors, the stress risk assessment, policy and procedures
• Resource: ensure adequate resources are identified and made available to pinpoint risk factors, preventative measures or means of support. For example:
- to deliver training for managers on identifying and managing stress in the workplace
- use a specialist to review existing measures, the development of worker wellbeing programmes and initiatives
- employ occupational health specialists to consult and support workers who are experiencing wellbeing issues
• Improve: identify and implement adjustments to improve worker wellbeing and work-life balance, such as:
- having meaningful discussions about targets - are they realistic?
- considering the introduction of flexible working arrangements to improve work-life balance, reduce absenteeism and increase productivity
• Support: establish suitable support processes and procedures for workers and ensure they are implemented and reviewed.