The HSE has developed a set of Management Standards which cover six key areas of work design that, if not properly managed, are associated with poor health and well-being, lower productivity and increased sickness absence. In other words, the six Management Standards cover the primary sources of stress at work. These are:
- Demands – this includes issues such as workload, work patterns and the work environment.
- Control – how much say the person has in the way they do their work.
- Support – this includes the encouragement, sponsorship and resources provided by the organisation, line management and colleagues.
- Relationships – this includes promoting positive working to avoid conflict and dealing with unacceptable behaviour.
- Role – whether people understand their role within the organisation and whether the organisation ensures that they do not have conflicting roles.
- Change – how organisational change (large or small) is managed and communicated in the organisation.
Stress is not an illness – it is a state. We all need some stress in order to function properly. However, if stress becomes too excessive and prolonged, mental and physical illness may develop.
Regular work is generally good for people if it is well designed, but it can also be a great source of pressure. There is a difference between pressure and stress. Pressure can be positive and a motivating factor, and is often essential in a job. It can help us achieve goals and perform better. Stress is a natural reaction to too much pressure and or when we perceive that the demands of our work are greater than our ability to cope.
So the management of stress in the workplace is a major issue for all employers, in terms of:
- The cost of sickness absence and reduced efficiency and productivity
- The negative impact on employees’ attitude, contribution, work related quality of life and their general health and wellbeing
Instituting effective stress management programmes into your workplace can be very cost effective in reducing absence, improving morale and assisting in staff retention.
In partnership with you, our experienced professionals, in partnership with you, can assist in the incorporation of these standards into your management process and in the development of a risk based stress management approach designed to improve the wellbeing of your employees and develop a healthy workplace.