In the last part of this series we looked at stress in the workplace and how it negatively affects employees. There are many issues around this, but the core concern is that the stress that the employee is feeling affects their working life. If that stress hinders their working life to such an extent that they are unable to carry on with their duties and work effectively, the employer has a problem. Two things can happen here, one being that the employer faces action because they have not dealt with the issue. The other thing concerns the fact that they will see a general reduction in the quality of the work the person delivers. Therefore, stress is a mental health issue that needs to be addressed properly.

Believe it or not, many employers are unable to put their finger on why stress may happen. It may not be entirely due to the workplace or work pressures. Here is a short list of reasons why stress may be present in employees:

Some of the most stressful events are:

  • moving house
  • getting married
  • having a baby
  • bereavement
  • serious illness in the employee or a friend or family member.

These stressful events are the most common. You’ll note that none of these are related to employment. However, they can affect the workplace because they become so large and so damaging. If the workplace itself is stressful, this will only compound the issue.

Stress is also caused by long-term issues, which include :

  • unemployment
  • poverty
  • relationship problems
  • caring for a disabled family member or friend
  • difficulties at work

You can see here that long-term issues can include those present in the workplace. The key area here is the long-term aspect. Stress coming out of the workplace could be taking place over a long period of time. This means that the employer could be completely aware of the difficulties he or she is placing on the employee.

What makes things even more difficult for an employer is the fact that everyone has different tolerance levels of stress. Some people thrive off it even when it is causing problems internally and mentally. In addition, some people cope with stress through other means such as drinking or drugs. All of this can be going on and the employer can be completely unaware of the situation, Because the person is effectively ‘coping’, at least in the short to medium-term.

In the next and final part of this short series, we will look at how employers can best manage stress in the workplace. This includes looking for signs of stress in employees, and also techniques for dealing with stress itself.

Chris Catt

The Enabled Entrepreneur

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