Reducing Stress in the Workplace
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Reducing Stress in the Workplace

Research released by insurance and pension provider Friends Life has revealed that some 5 million workers have taken absence from work in the last year due to stress.


The research further revealed that of all of the age categories, it is young workers, aged 18 – 24 who are most likely to suffer with stress and provided evidence that one in four of 18-24 year olds had taken a sick day due to stress.


The company then claim that this could be costing the UK £460million every day in lost wages.


It’s little wonder then that many employers, and indeed employees are looking into the various ways they can reduce workplace stress. Whilst many surveys are looking into the situation from the perspective of the employee and asking them what they think their employer could do to rectify the situation, many employers are considering whether adding a HR professional to their employee roster could help the situation, and are looking towards HR recruitment agencies to help them in this endeavour.


What is Stress?


Stress is a controversial term at best. Whilst many know and have experienced the psychological and physical symptoms of stress, there are just as many people who deny its’ existence suggesting that it is an excuse or a buzzword.


However, for employers whether stress exists or doesn’t the effects on their productivity and profits are all too real and this is often where a HR professional can prove to be a powerful ally.


How can Human Resources Combat Stress


It’s widely known among employers that supervisors, middle managers and senior managers have responsibilities which often mean that they’re not solely focused on their employees at all times. Whilst they might be looking at the work based activity of the staff in their employ, looking out for their welfare and satisfaction is often neglected. However, a HR professional within the workplace has the role of ensuring the wellbeing of the employee (among other things of course).


They can help therefore to combat workplace stress in a number of ways:


1. Recruitment


There are a number of differences between the way that an employer or manager might go about the task of recruitment and a HR professional might carry out the task. Whilst a manager’s focus might be on filling a vacancy as quickly and appropriately as possible, the knowledge and skill of a HR Manager means that the task is a little different. They might introduce psychometric tests to evaluate the suitability of a person and personality for a particular role and the team in which the candidate is expected to fit. They might change the role to suit the person applying for the job so as to keep a highly skilled candidate or they might see that a particular personality is unsuited for a role because of the stress it would cause to that person, whilst someone without HR experience would be unlikely to see this as an issue. Therefore, at a source level, they can be essential in reducing stress levels.


2. Appraisal


It may be the case however that some employees start their jobs before the HR professional does. In the case where new HR jobs in Hampshire are recruited for then the individual has to simply start working with what they have. However, by conducting regular appraisals with the workforce, they can ensure that the signs and symptoms of work based stress can be spotted at an early opportunity and dealt with before they lead to absenteeism.


3. Productivity


In addition to monitoring the actual workforce, the role of a HR professional is to assess and improve productivity. Of course, the reasoning behind this is cost motivated but in seeing and assessing productivity patterns, they may be able to identify particular problem areas, those where stress is likely to be a factor and work with the management and the employee team to eradicate these issues.