An individual who feels stressed at work may feel stressed solely due to work issues, but in many instances there is likely to be a combination of home and work pressures. Sometimes the home pressures are the main issue, which then cause the individual to struggle with the normal work pressures, which can lead them to believe that the pressures are mainly work-related.
Regardless of the cause of stress, undertaking an individual stress risk assessment will help identify the work issues or concerns the individual has with coping with certain work factors (even if they are not the main cause of the stress). Once the work factors have been identified, actions need to be identified to help reduce those pressures, until the individual’s symptoms have improved. Having a documented conversation with the employee will ensure that a record is kept of the issues/concerns from the individual’s perspective, along with actions the Organisation has taken to address the concerns. The HSE have a number of useful tools to help shape the conversation, including the return to work questionnaire, which is a useful template that lists a number of questions to help the manager identify the specific areas which are causing the individual concern.
Work-related stress is a complex issue. It may be due to inherent factors in the work or job design, or may just be that tan individual has reduced resilience, or the job is not a good fit for that person. If there is any double about what support an individual needs, then an occupational health assessment is recommended. Sometimes feel more comfortable having a more frank conversation with an occupational health professional than their manager, and the real issues can often be more easily identified.
As with general risk assessments, Organisations need to be doing an Organisational stress risk assessment, looking at each job or role, or each department, to identify potential areas of stress so that control measures can be put in place to ensure that their staff are not exposed to unacceptable levels of pressure. The HSE have produced a stress indicator tool that can be done with groups of people to identify the key stressors, which managers can use as a starting point to help manage pressures at work. The HSE also have a number of other really useful tools and templates which can help tackle work-related stress, as well as information on how to secure management commitment for dealing with stress at work. For help in tackling stress at your workplace or general advice on how to use the HSE tools, please call us today.