Work related stress is a major cause of occupational burn out, poor productivity, poor physical health and absenteeism. One study revealed that nearly 58% of work-related disabilities are related to mental-health and that 30-40% of the sickness absence is attributed to some form of mental illness.
Stress is not a psychiatric diagnosis, but it is linked to mental health in two important ways:
- It can contribute to other mental health problems that can be diagnosed. For example, depression and anxiety can be a result of the inability to cope with stress effectively.
- Mental health problems can contribute to stress. An employee already dealing with a diagnosed mental health issue may find it stressful to manage medication, keep it a secret, make needed doctor’s appointments and deal with the overall social stigma.
There are tools to evaluate work-related stress and assess the degree of stress faced in the following domains:
- Relationship problems with superiors
- Bureaucratic constraints
- Work family conflict/balance
- Problems with colleagues
- Performance pressure
- Poor job prospects
Of course, concerns over the virus, pandemic, financial insecurity, layoffs, businesses closing and tension constantly shown in our media all attribute to increased stress. So what can businesses do to play a role in employee well-being. It’s starts at the top. The CEO’s communicate that it is a priority and recognizing managers play a big role in improving well-being throughout all levels of an organization. Managers are in the best position to understand their employees. Here are a few things to put in place:
- the development of a workplace mental health policy and program
- information and awareness campaigns
- employee and manager training
- hosting seminars on developing good coping strategies
- training in resilience techniques
- recognizing workers who need flexibility and support (parent who needs to take care of a child)
- train managers to facilitate meaningful and ongoing conversations with employees
- have leaders who authentically believe in improving work well-being
The Workplace Stress Scale: unit-3-the-workplace-stress-scale.pdf