Preventing Stress

What is work-related stress?

Work-related stress is the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work. There is a clear distinction between pressure which can be a motivating factor, and stress, which can occur when this pressure becomes excessive.

Why is work-related stress an issue?

Stress is one of the top causes of sickness absence in the UK.

The latest estimates from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) show:

  • The total number of cases of stress in 2011/12 was 428 000 (40%) out of a total of 1 073 000 for all work-related illnesses
  • The main work activities causing work-related stress, or making it worse, was work pressure, lack of managerial support and work-related violence and bullying

Are you stressed?

Stress produces a range of signs and symptoms, the following is not an exhaustive list but may indicate stress;

Behaviour – you may find it hard to sleep, change your eating habits, smoke or drink more.

Physical – tiredness, indigestion and nausea, headaches or palpitations.

Mentally – you may be more indecisive, find it hard to concentrate or suffer loss of memory.

Emotionally – you are likely to get irritable or angry, be anxious or be hypersensitive.

If you think you are suffering from any mental health problem or any of the symptoms identified above, it may be advisable to speak to your GP. It is also a good idea to talk to your line manager, Human Resources department or Occupational Health provider.

Take control

Many employees are reluctant to talk about stress at work, due to the stigma attached to it. Stress is not a weakness, and can happen to anyone.

Remember: no employer should subject their employees to work-related stress, and this is an issue both you and your employer should take seriously.