Identifying The Signs Of Stress in Employees

How do you know your staff are stressed? You're not a mind reader, and sometimes people will hide very well the fact that they're stressed, because that's their way of coping, or they don't want you to know, because it's a private thing, or are afraid it'll be seen as a sign of weakness or whatever. That is their prerogative of course, but as an employer/manager, you want to ensure that you offer support to staff suffering with stress, that you are aware as you can be, to pick up the signs that are there. There are a range of outward signs to look for, changes in behaviour for example. That means though that you have to know your staff in the first place to know what a change looks like. These signs may include reduced quality of work; indecisiveness and poor judgement; loss of sense of humour; more frequent minor illnesses; withdrawal; over-sensitivity; seeming jumpy or ill-at-ease; tiredness and irritability; increased sick leave; poor time-keeping; staff changing the pattern of their working days - perhaps by staying late or taking work home.

You should also look for signs of more widespread problems among groups of employees. For example low morale; arguments and disputes between staff; general absenteeism; more grievances and complaints; greater staff turnover.

What can you do if any of these symptoms are apparent? The first thing you can do is just sit down with your staff member, and have a word with them about it, in a confidential setting. It may well be that if they're stressed they don't want to talk about it, because it's personal, or because they think you'll perceive it as a sign of weakness. What you must do is to create an environment, a relationship in which the chances of them opening up are as good as they can be. This doesn't mean that they will speak up, but at least you will know that you've given them the opportunity to do so. You could suggest that they speak to another manager about things, if they would prefer. The larger companies will have the support of employee assistance programmes, with counsellors available for staff to speak to. You could point them in the direction of a stress coach or stress counsellor. You could even suggest speaking to their GP, if things are becoming particularly difficult.

The trick is obviously to minimise the chances of the above occurring in the first place. A good place to start is the HSE Management Standards for work-related stress. These cover the risk factors associated with the workplace. They provide guidelines as to what you can do to promote a healthy working environment. They cover the demands placed on staff; the control they have over the way they work; relationships at work (including promoting positive working to avoid conflict and dealing with unacceptable behaviour); how change is managed and communicated; whether people are clear about their role in the organisation and the suppport and encouragement they get from the organisation, line management and colleagues. If you can address these six areas, you are more likely to have a co-operative and contented workforce, and improved business performance. There is likely to be less stress around for staff and managers, and less conflict, and you will also be complying with the legislation/regulations relating to health and safety at work.
Get in touch if you'd like some support for your organisation with the above - Stress Management Plus are based in Reading, Berkshire, but we cover the whole of the UK. Here's a link with details of how we can support managers to prevent and manage stress.

If you want to know more about the HSE Management Standards, you can visit the HSE website here

We're helping organisations (see our client list) to save money every day, just in reducing sick absence costs and the costs of under-performance.

Get in touch now to start doing the same for your organisation today. Here are some example case studies demonstrating the benefits of investing in wellbeing.

Enter your name and email address to subscribe to our Newsletter
Contact Name:
Email Address:

Don't be shy: a dose
of narcissism is good
for you

Words Can Change
Your Brain

How to mindfully work
with positive emotions

Why are we surprised
that therapy has its

Why it's OK to send
restaurant food back

If you want to have a
good time, ask a

Stop yourself worrying
and feeling stressed at

Do we really need

Quality sleep 'better for
wellbeing than 50 per
cent more cash'

Why cold showers are
all the rage

There is no such thing
as the true self, but its
still a useful
psychological concept

Why so serious? The
untapped value of
positive psychology 

Documenting three good
things could improve
your mental well-being
at work

How to manage the
thoughts you just can't

Creating a climate of
psychological safety in
the workplace

Positive neuro-
science: 3 ways to 
wire your brain

Struggling to be
productive at work? Take
a neuroscientist's advice

Human Nature Abhors
A Vacuum, Too

Bad jobs 'can be worse
for health than

We are what we say: how
thoughts and speech
shape our wellbeing

Hot yoga classes reduce
emotional eating and
negative thoughts

The Psychologist guide
to healthy living

Minds run free: running
for psychologists

10 ways that running
changes your mind and

Working from home isn't
ruining your social skills

Actually, we can buy

Just Smelling Food Could
Make You Gain Weight

When Stress Makes You
Fall Asleep

Sometimes Not Working
Is Work, Too

How to be extremely
productive without
getting extremely

Our senses can't learn
under stress

How a napping subway
commuter's brain knows
when it's their stop

The best way to manage
your social anxiety is to
accept it

Why does time seem to
speed up as we get older?

5 Reasons Its So Hard To
Think Like A Scientist

Meditation alters stress
genes: study

How to maintain your
emotional wellbeing
during tragic news events

'I am not naturally
magnetic': can you
learn how to be

Bored? Now you know

Think you're self-aware?
Think again

Do you have any idea
what other people think
of you?

How food can improve
your mental health

Why bad moods are
good for you: the
surprising benefits of

Are you getting enough

Want to live twice as
long? Meditation might

How is coaching different
from other professions?

Does ignorance have an

10 Ways That Running
Changes Your Mind And

What I discovered after
using a standing desk
for 1 year

10-Minute Mindfulness
Meditation To Reduce

Neurogenesis: An

Get Happy: Four
Well-Being Workouts

Learning is all about

Can science explain why
I'm a pessimist?

Five steps to improving
grit and resilience

When good advice is best

Are you a defensive

5 ways to help build

Think less, think better

Negative emotions are
key to Well-Being

Copyright Stress Management Plus Web Site Design Company - eCommerce Software Shopping Cart Solutions