Stres at Work Tips



The effects of Organisational Stress:

  • Stress reduces morale, performance and productivity of the workforce.
  • Stress increases poor timekeeping.
  • Stress increases workplace absenteeism which has a knock on domino effect on colleagues who have to cover.
  • Stress is a major contributor to staff turnover resulting in additional recruitment and retraining costs.
  • Insurance premiums increase with increased stress claims.
  • Litigation costs for stress claims are increasing.


  • Approximately 420,000 are suffering from work- related stress, anxiety and depression. (HSE 2008)
  • Work- related stress, anxiety and depression - second most common cause of work related illness
  • Approximately 13.5 million working days lost due to work-related stress, anxiety and depression ( HSE 2008)
  • Work- related stress, anxiety and depression - the major cause of work related sickness absence contributing to about a third of sickness absence.

So what can you do?


Adopt the attitude that stress is not a weakness and try to develop this culture in your own department. Nobody is perfect we all have too much pressure from time to time. Stress can affect anyone given an accumulation of circumstances. Foster the mind set that it is not a weakness to seek help if we are not coping- it is a strength to admit it and do something about it. Promote it as a developmental issue. Handling stress is a proactive intervention to prevent ill health of the employee and the organisation.
Ensure that you yourself are not suffering from stress. A stressed manager has a “knock on effect throughout the organisation.” Dealing with your own stress will prevent your staff from suffering and results in a more relaxed and productive atmosphere.   
Analyse your own management style and behaviour (honestly); ask is your management style causing any stress? Good management is the best proactive way of reducing organisational stress. A good manager;
  • Ensures a realistic knowledge of the workload and the time it should take
  • Sets individual work objectives and targets, consults and discusses before setting
  • Gives clear effective instructions
  • Makes sure he/she define roles and tasks adequately – discusses priorities
  • In times of high workload prepares workforce for this
  • Varies work where possible and provides opportunities for individuals to influence the way they do their jobs
  • Delegates effectively (and not just the boring bits!!)
  • Ensures staff have adequate training to do a good job.
  • Gives fast feedback. Both positive and negative. Praises when appropriate. Does not shy from giving negative feedback. Gives constructive criticism when criticism is necessary
  • Is approachable
  • Admits to own weaknesses and takes responsibility for own mistakes
Be honest which of these could you improve upon?
Regularly do an informal check of your staff to check nobody is subjected to work related stress. Think of yourself in your employee's shoes. What causes your staff stress may be healthy pressure to you, but do not belittle it. Just because it is not a problem for you does not mean it is not a problem for them. Remember they may cope easily with issues that cause you stress.
Provide information to staff telling them where to go for help and what to do if they are suffering from stress. ApP help write stress policies and can produce a range of information leaflets to help here.
Encourage staff to attend a personal stress management course or provide staff with tips to help themselves. ApP provides a range of training programmes to help here.
Carry out a risk assessment process to reduce stress in your department.
  • Determine the causes of stress in your organisation
  • Communicate these to staff and involve staff in finding solutions
  • Put an action plan into place and regularly review your progress making amendments where necessary.
Familiarise yourself with the HSE guidelines for tackling work related stress. Click HERE to find out about the HSE guidelines.
Improve communication.
  • Where possible keep workforce informed of all changes and major decisions
  • Listen to your staff. Hear what they are saying
  • Observe your staff, you learn a lot from watching
  • Talk to your staff informally and regularly. It will be easier for them to come to you or for you to approach them if there is a problem.
Help your staff to cope with change no matter how big or how small.
  • Before introducing change listen to views and opinions of staff. How will it be for them?
  • Where possible, update workforce on any changes taking place.
  • Explain the reasons for the changes.
  • Identify those who resist change and help them accept, listen to doubts and fears, explain, coach, boost self-esteem.
  • Check how things are progressing during and after change.
All in all, create an environment that promotes well being. Remember relaxed and happy employee will work more effectively thus increasing performance and productivity. This will inevitably result in an increase in organisational performance.

For more information about stress please Contact Us.


© Copyright Dr Rosemary Anderson 2008
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