Managing Stress for Better Workplace Well-being

Heavy workloads, organisational change, long hours, doing more with less – Is this having an impact on your team?

  • Are you seeing an increase in disputes and disaffection within the team?
  • Do people appear to be working together less well?
  • Is there more competition rather than collaboration within the team, and is this having an impact on how information is shared and work is being done?

If the answer is yes to these questions this may be down to increased levels of stress. It is in your interest as a manager to be mindful of how people are feeling and to keep workplace stress down to a minimum.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) guidelines outline the following key factors that can lead to people feeling out of control and therefore stressed.

Organisational culture

A poor culture that is characterised by a lack of support for employees, there is poor communication, a lack of commitment to employee well-being and employees are not valued or respected.

Demands

The impact of work load (quantity, pace and content), work scheduling (shifts, breaks, uncertain hours) and the physical environment (violence, noise, thermal comfort) can all potentially create stress for employees.

Control

A lack of control over one’s work, low autonomy and little opportunity for decision-making can all contribute to a stressed workforce.

Role

Workplaces where there is ongoing role conflict, role ambiguity, low perceived status, inappropriate levels of responsibility will eventually lead to stressed employees.

Training and support

A skill shortfall, a lack of training to do the job properly and lack of support from organisation/management/colleagues.

Relationships

Interpersonal conflict and bullying behaviour that is not dealt with is initially demotivating. Overtime it leads to stress.

Change

Poor or absent strategies for involving staff in change initiatives and for minimising the adverse effects of implementation.

Work pressure – normal or excessive

Work pressure is normal and it can vary for people depending on the type of job and the time of year for example.

If the pressure becomes excessive and ongoing it changes from being a positive and motivating factor to stress, a natural response when the demands of work are greater than a person’s ability to cope.

Stress at work is more likely to occur when people are feeling out of control.

If the work pressure is building up within your team and reducing collaboration or even leading to conflict, maybe it’s a good time to intervene and see what changes you can make to reduce workplace stress.

  • Can you improve the way information is communicated to team members, particularly in times of job uncertainty or restructuring?
  • Can you involve people in planning and prioritising workloads?
  • Can you give them greater scope to manage their own work?
  • Are you setting unrealistic deadlines that people are struggling to meet?
  • Are your people feeling confident about their skills, as a lack of confidence may make them more resistant to change? Can you introduce more training?
  • Do members of your team receive feedback and do they receive praise for good work performance?
  • Is your style of leadership a cause of stress! There are 100mph people and 50mph people, which are you and what are the implications for the way you lead your team?

Why not use a team meeting to discuss this issue?

“What can we do to help each other identify and manage work pressures before they get out of hand?”

Fostering an open environment will empower your team, increase confidence and team work and give your organisation a competitive edge.