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Six indicators your teams may be stressed

Mon, 09 Nov 2015 13:03

Approximately 14.6 million days per year are lost in the UK due to stress, depression, and anxiety.

There are various legislative incentives for businesses to take action to control the risks of stress, not to mention productivity benefits to be made from reducing stress in the workplace.

But if you don't currently have any control measures in place, how can you identify if your teams are stressed, and what can you do about it if they are?

Here are 6 indicators that your teams may be stressed:

1. Error rates

Stress can lead to cognitive symptoms such as a decreased attention span, memory problems, trouble concentrating and general confusion. This makes stressed employees more prone to making mistakes.

If error rates in an area of your business are increasing, then the relevant team may well be suffering from stress.

2. Missed deadlines

Stressed employees often have difficulty with planning and controlling their workloads, leading to them focusing on the types of work that don't produce the required results, neglecting important work and missing deadlines.

If deadlines are frequently being missed by a certain team then it's a likely indicator that stress may be a problem in that team.

3. Complaints

Stressed employees are prone to becoming uncooperative, creating conflicts and tensions with colleagues and customers.

Day to day, this can be difficult to identify, but if overall complaints, either from staff or from customers, within an area of your organisation are unusually high then stress could be one of the causes.

4. Grievances

A number of behavioural symptoms are caused by stress including disciplinary problems and interpersonal difficulties. Employees suffering from stress can often become emotional, angry, aggressive, impatient or upset, further contributing to interpersonal issues.

A sure indicator that this is the case is a spike in the use of the grievance process in your business. If you notice such an increase, take action to get to the root of the problem before it escalates further.

5. Increased absences

Stress can lead to physical symptoms including tiredness, aching muscles, and illness, ultimately leading to increased levels of absence.

If you notice that certain employees or teams are increasingly absent from the office, whether for sickness reasons or otherwise, it may warrant a proactive investigation into whether stress is a factor.

6. Increased lateness

In some employees, stress may lead to emotional signs such as depression, loss of commitment and motivation, which can lead to people having trouble managing their schedules and arriving on time.

If an employee who was previously punctual is frequently arriving late for work, conducting an individual stress risk assessment is a good step towards identifying any possible stress-related reasons for this.

Managing Stress

If any of these indicators reveal that teams in your workplace may be suffering from stress, there are a number of actions you may take to control the risks.

We provide two eLearning courses to tackle the issue of stress from all sides.

Our Managing Your Personal Stress eLearning helps individuals to identify their own stress, providing them with coping mechanisms and strategies for minimising its impact.

Our new Managing Stress in Your Team eLearning course equips managers to understand and manage stress, carry out individual and team risk assessments, and understand the impact of their own behaviour on employee stress levels.

Contact us today for free guest access to our stress-related eLearning.

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