Stress is a health and safety issue at work and employees who are stressed are at risk of stress-related illness and/ or injury. In previous blogs we’ve identified that practice managers have a stressful job
However, despite this it’s also usually practice managers role to help others deal with stress in the practice.
Stress is a major concern in the workplace
According to statistics collated by he Health and Safety Executive stress is increasingly becoming a major problem with work-related stress, depression or anxiety accounting for approximately 39% of all work-related illnesses in 2014. Major factors for this include:
- changes at work
- interpersonal relationships
- factors intrinsic to the job
Together they account for approximately 69% of the major causes of stress in the workplace.
Disability Confident and legal duties
As supporters of Disability Confident we believe that it is vital that employers and their employees understand mental health issues like stress and the effects it causes. However employers do have a legal responsibility under:
- Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
to ensure the health safety and welfare at work of their employees. Part of this duty relates to minimising the risk of stress-related illness or injury to employees.
Start with a robust Policy
The starting point is to ensure that all members of the practice clearly understand:
- what stress is
- what causes it and how to recognise the symptoms in others
- what can be done about it
Initially this means having a robust policy in place and ensuring that everybody is familiar with it.
Signpost to help
However, any policy is only as good as its implementation so the practice will need regular reviews and updates.
It’s also important that you keep up to date with changes and improvements in available facilities and organisations so that you can signpost employees to seek external help, particularly for common reactions to stress such as alcohol abuse.
Change other “tough times”
As a practice manager you need to be constantly monitoring for situations when stress can reach difficult levels. For example, any changes in the practice will likely be a major cause of stress and so focussing on how and when you implement change and ensuring that employees are kept informed throughout the process is vital.
Stress at home often spills into the workplace and this means that you need tackle those more difficult conversations with employees to ascertain how you can support them within the workplace.
Employees share some responsibility for their own health and safety so it is vital that they understand this and be aware that they should:
- advise you if they have a longer-term medical condition which could make them more prone to stress or affects their ability to do their job (such as problems with memory)
- let you know if pressures from the job are putting them (or anyone else) at risk of ill-health
- make suggestions as to how their stress could be relieved
- discuss with you reasonable adjustments (in accordance with disability under the Equality Act) which could help them
Finally, it’s also important that practice managers take care of themselves.