Creating a culture in your organisation, where stress is acknowledged and discussed openly will reduce absence and the costs of stress. Being able to identify and deal with situations before they get too serious is the key to successful stress management, and an open culture allows you to do this.
“Creating a culture” sounds expensive, however when you go through the list below, you will see that many of the points are simple and relate to a shift in mind-set and routines.
A culture needs to be created on many levels, and is done by creating an environment where the people in it can operate in a certain way:-
- Policies and procedures – ensure everything is in place to support stress management. This may include absence management, return to work procedures and occupational health provision
- Include stress on meeting agendas – make stress a specific item within the health and safety or human resources reports at senior management level. Include discussions about stress in team meetings so staff can air concerns openly
- Include a discussion about stress in appraisals and return to work interviews
- Senior managers need to be seen getting involved in the conversation – include articles in staff newsletters? Discuss stress in large group meetings? It is important to discuss stress in an open, non-judgmental way
- Line Managers – demonstrating behaviour which shows that stress can be discussed openly. Dealing sensitively and appropriately with staff who express concerns relating to stress
- Managing staff off with stress sensitively and appropriately – including keeping in touch and managing communication with colleagues
- Dealing with a return to work after stress leave – sensitively and appropriately
- Provision of appropriate support – wellbeing and stress specialists
- Flexible working options - do you have flexible working options available to all your employees? Professor Cary Cooper has found that “…. if you open flexible working to all employees rather than just parents, you will get £3.50 back for every pound spent. But if you restrict it to just parents the pay back will be half that.”
This list provides a starting point for you to create a culture where stress can be openly discussed. This will help you keep the cases of stress to a minimum and so reduce your costs and prevent disruptions to productivity.
This post was written by Charlie Damonsing of CLAssociates. CLAssociates specialises in helping businesses manage stress in the workplace, providing consultancy, training and 1-2-1 support. For further details please contact Charlie on 0771 559 6487.