The importance of minimising stress at work

11 Apr

What is stressful to one person may not be to another. Individuals respond differently to different stressors. You may have heard someone use the phrase “I thrive under pressure” and found it incomprehensible. On the other hand, you might believe a job without pressure is not worth having. It’s the classic fight or flight response and what invigorates one person may exhaust another.

I deliberately use the word ‘stressors’ as opposed to ‘stress’ because there is strong evidence to suggest stress does not come from the individual – it exists only in their environment. Depending on how the individual reacts to that stressor, or strain, determines whether or not they become stressed.

What I mean is that it’s entirely down to the person whether or not workplace strain is converted into workplace stress.

Figures from the Labour Force Survey, conducted by the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), showed that in 2010/2011 over a third of all work-related illnesses were stress-related. They also estimate over 10 million working days were lost during that 12 month period due to cases of stress costing UK businesses £28bn per year.

The HSE have also identified six key areas which contribute to stress in the workplace:

  • Demands placed on the employee are too high
  • Employees do not have enough control over how they work
  • There is inadequate support from colleagues and managers
  • Workplace relationships are of an unacceptable standard
  • Employees are unclear on the role and responsibilities within the business
  • There is a lack of consultation when it comes to organisational change

As previously pointed out, not all of these may apply to everybody but they are the most commonly cited reasons for workplace stress. Importantly, it’s perfectly possible to minimise the impact of these and even eradicate them completely by using simple steps and procedures.

By addressing these issues, managers can ensure their team is as efficient as possible with the main benefits being increased morale and productivity, and reduced absenteeism and staff turnover. 

At Catalyst, we train staff, managers and leaders to be able to identify and manage workplace stressors and act accordingly to make employees feel valued and happy thereby creating a positive, thriving environment.

For more information on our workshops and seminars, visit:


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