Bonfire Night 2014 is also National Stress Awareness Day
The 5th of November was somewhat stressful in 1605 for a gentleman named Mr Guy Fawkes. Early on that day he was discovered in the cellars of Parliament in possession of lots of barrels of gunpowder and armed with a slow match. The rest as they say is history.
Life is still very stressful, increasingly so for many, especially in the workplace. It is of concern to the Government because of the time and economic activity lost. In 2013/14 there were 11.3 million working days lost due to stress, depression or anxiety. So 5 November 2014 is designated National Stress Awareness Day. The official theme is ‘Stress: the balancing act.’
Employers have a duty under health and safety law to assess and take reasonable measures to control risks from work-related stress. But much more importantly, the acute unhappiness, distraction and absence that can be caused by stress are a good reason to think about stress and take any necessary action. Take a bit of time to think about the following:
Remind yourself about the chief causes of stress at work – things like work overload, lack of job control and poor relationships – and what measures you can take to combat them.
Manage absence more effectively. The key to effective absence management is early action, so make sure that you hold return to work discussions so you can find out early on if stress is causing absence and what can be done about it.
Make sure your line managers know how to respond to signs of stress. Ignoring it is not a good idea as usually it will just get worse. Particular stress points may be in relation to bullying, performance management and employee relationships.
The effects of stress can be very real indeed, on personal and business health and happiness. Hopefully you will not have to deal with workplace fireworks, but it is worth watching out for the slow burn of stress and taking action to prevent things ending up in a major explosion!