Stress in the workplace is not good for employers, employees or customers and can lead to extended bouts of sickness and absence.
There are numerous ways in which you can manage stress in the workplace, some of which are extremely simple while others may need the investment of time and money.
The best ways to manage stress at work are to delegate tasks if possible, make sure you're trained on your core responsibilities, and communication - talking with your manager and other colleagues involved on any stressful projects.
A little bit of stress can be very useful in your working life or your private life as it often helps to focus the mind. However, stress becomes a problem when it starts to impact the health and well-being of employees and business productivity.
We will now take a look at ways in which you can manage stress in the workplace both as an employer and an employee.
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Unfortunately, many small, medium and large-sized businesses fail to provide appropriate channels of communication between employees and employers. This is a breeding ground for rumours, counter rumours and untruths which can put employees under pressure and affect business productivity.
So, the easiest way to manage/reduce stress in the workplace is to communicate. If something is wrong, fix it, if somebody has something to discuss, give them the time.
It is a legal obligation of employers to provide initial and continuous training to their employees covering everything from health and safety to working practices. In many cases, this helps to avoid misunderstandings which can sometimes place employees and employers in conflict.
Any conflict or friction between these two parties is not good for business and not good for stress levels.
In businesses up and down the country, you will see individuals and groups taking on far too much work, often against tight deadlines. Whether they feel a failure if they pass on the work or perhaps there is nobody’s with the skills set required, this scenario can cause significant stress.
So, both employers and employees need to learn to delegate, to trust each other and work together.
As an employee, there may be times when you are fearful of your position and concerned about redundancy or even the business folding. This can place huge pressure on not only your working life but also your personal life.
As a consequence, many people look towards income protection as a means of subsidising reduced income if they are ill/injured or face unemployment/redundancy. Knowing that at least an element of your regular income will be covered in a worst-case scenario can be very helpful!
There is no hard and fast rule with regard to income protection premiums. There are many issues to take into consideration such as the type of policy, sickness/injuries covered, unemployment, etc.
It will come as no surprise to learn that insurance companies will allocate different premiums for different types of employment. For example, many insurance companies divide jobs into four different classes:-
In simple terms, the greater the chance of sickness/injury in your employment, the higher the premiums you should expect to pay.
Yes. There are many ways in which an employer-funded private healthcare scheme can reduce stress and increase productivity. On the one hand, employees have the backup of private healthcare in the event of illness/injury in the future. Secondly, employers will benefit from this type of treatment with employees likely to return to work much quicker than if using the NHS.
Whether physical exercise, mental stimulation or good old-fashioned advice, many companies now employ the services of stress management experts. They will come into the office as and when required to speak with employers/employees and address any issues in the workplace, which can encourage stress.
Historically, this type of action was frowned upon by many, but in the modern-day stressful business world, it can be worth its weight in gold for all parties.
Legally you are entitled to a minimum 20-minute break if you work over six hours a day. In reality, many employers will offer additional time which can be important to rest, wind down and even distress.
While extended breaks are obviously of assistance to employees, they can and do have a positive impact on business productivity. It is much better to have an individual working for a little less time while totally focused as opposed to one who is tired, irritable and stressed.
Unfortunately, as the cost of living continues to rise, more people will try to take on as much overtime as possible. In some cases, this can leave them with minimal rest/family time and lead to increased stress and anxiety levels.
As an employer, it is very important to monitor the amount of overtime taken on by individuals with one eye on their health and one eye on their legal obligations to employees.
As long as you are in employment, then you will be eligible for income protection insurance, and it will simply come down to affordability. While there may be a temptation to go for the higher cover, resulting in higher premiums, this may not be the best way forward.
Many people will look at their monthly expenditure/living expenses and use these to work out the degree of cover required, with perhaps a little surplus on top.
We can only imagine the number of people under excess stress at work and concerned about taking time off. Unfortunately, the message that mental health is as important as physical health is not yet making its way across the workplace. However, if we look at the courts, they treat mental injuries and physical injuries as one and the same when considering compensation/damages.
If you look at this from an employer’s point of view, it is fairly straightforward. All employers have a duty of care towards their employees with regards to their physical and mental well-being. If your life has been severely impacted by stress as a consequence of issues in the workplace, this could be seen as negligent.
No employee would like to be taken to court for compensation, and ultimately they would like their employees back to work fit and raring to go. So, the answer is yes; you can take time off work due to stress.
Yes. The statutory sick pay in the UK is around £95 a week, although many employers will have their own sick pay schemes. These might provide a full salary for a number of months, and then it will taper down as your time off extends.
In order to be clear about your sick pay entitlement, you would need to check your employment contract. It is a legal requirement for your employment contract to stipulate sick pay as well as many other issues.
Yes. It should be possible to adapt your income protection policies around the sick pay scheme of your current employer. As we touched on above, your employer may well enhance the statutory sick payment of £95 a week, supporting you financially for an extended period of time. So, with the above example, if you had full pay for three months and 50% pay for three months before it tapered off, you could adjust your insurance policy. How?
Well, if you adjusted your policy so that payments did not commence until six must down the line, this would help support you once your employer sick pay scheme had tapered off. It makes no sense from a financial point of view to commencing income protection payments immediately if you are still being paid. It is also worth noting that the longer the gap between sickness and your first insurance payout, the lower your premiums.
If you’re looking towards income protection insurance as a hedge against reduced sick pay further down the line, it makes sense to speak with an insurance broker. They have been there, done it and will have many different contacts in the market to find the best deal for you.
We know that the Internet offers a mass of information, but some of it is relevant, the small print may be missing or it may simply be out of date. There is no point in trying to become an expert in income protection insurance when there are already affordable experts out there.
Stress in the workplace is not good for the employer, employee or productivity. Indeed all employers have an obligation to protect the health and well-being of their employees. Insurance policies such as income protection and unemployment protection offer a very useful fallback in the event an individual is unable to work or is made redundant.
The perfect scenario would be a reduction of stress in the workplace, individual income protection and maybe even a healthcare plan – all bases covered!
Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Income Protection Insurance brokers. They have already helped thousands of people get the best Income Protection Insurance cover and they can do the same for you.
Choosing an independent adviser means they won’t recommend a scheme unless they are sure it is in your best interests. Their advice is also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.
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