How do employers recognise work-related stress?

January 12, 2017   //   No Comments

According to Mind, one in four people will experience some sort of mental health condition in the course of a year, and stress and mental health problems constitute one of the three major causes of long-term absence (EEF Sickness Absence Survey, 2015). Careful management of stress in the workplace will help to improve productivity and reduce sickness absence.

For workers who are absent because of stress there will almost certainly have been quite a long period when they struggled with low mood and were unhappy at work – can you spot the signs?  FitforWork has produced some tips to help employers:

Assess the stress

  • There is a stress risk assessment questionnaire on the Fit for Work website ( which identifies the factors that may be causing work-related stress in your company and the actions you can take to reduce them.


  • While an ‘open door’ policy may not always be possible, make it clear that employees can talk to you if they are struggling with their workload, feel under pressure from others or concerned about their performance. And mean it! A chat over a cup of coffee can be very revealing if you listen.

Encourage communication

  • Create a working environment in which employees feel able to openly discuss the things that are worrying them and exchange ideas and solutions without feeling intimidated. It will help to avoid ‘bottling up’ grievances and concerns.

Recognise achievement/value contribution 

  • We all like to be recognised and praised for what we do. It builds our self-esteem and boosts our self-confidence, so do it! Praise achievements and successes, indicating that you recognise and value the contribution employees make.

Telling signs

  • Performance has taken a dip?
  • More random sick days?
  • Consistently late for work?
  • Irritable and restless?
  • Withdrawing from the team dynamic?
  • Low mood?
  • Drinking too much and not eating properly?

Remember that SAIF provides a completely confidential telephone and email helpline and members who need further support will be offered six free counselling sessions.  Read more about SAIF Support here in the Members’ area.

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