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A brief guide to preventing stress in the workplace

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The recession’s impact on employment levels, redundancies and wage cuts, has created a UK office environment all a-blur with quivering employees.

An increase in mental health problems in the workplace have been directly attributed to the recession’s wide reaching talons. Employers need to guarantee that practical schemes are in place to ensure employee peace of mind stays positive and workload maintains its peak, with employment tribunal requests kept to a minimum.

For those worrying about how to keep the working masses happy, the following tips are a brief guide to recent developments and existing ideas on maintaining harmony in the workplace.

Healthy work-life balance:
According to new research from development firm Morgan Redwood, businesses garner 20% more productivity from their staff, whilst diminishing absenteeism, if they establish a healthy work-life balance.

“Companies who focus on and measure staff wellbeing are in fact being very prudent. They’re making as big a contribution to their bottom line as those who are looking at ways to increase sales or cut costs,” said Janice Haddon, Managing Director of Morgan Redwood.

Remote working:
In 2002, the government passed legislation allowing employees with responsibility for children under the age of 16 to request flexible working hours. Since the law’s introduction, many more employees have chosen to work remotely in an effort to achieve the optimum work-life balance.

Working from home allows employees greater flexibility when dealing with unexpected events. It can also cut the cost of commuting while shortening the working day. All these elements can increase an employee’s happiness as they feel their views are not disregarded by employers.

Paternity leave and flexible time:

60% of fathers are working more than 40 hours a week, according to Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) research, and currently 40% feel they are not spending enough time with their children. However, a further 20% of those surveyed believe that by asking for flexible time they are damaging their employment reputation.

Reassuring male employees that their career won’t be harmed by visits home to care for newborns will reduce the stress of juggling a new family and work. The EHRC’s research has called for a change in paternity laws but, until such laws are in place, offering some leniency to those whose babies are fresh to the world is a moral and business conscious move.

Positive reinforcement:

Employees rarely hear the words “well done” once the binding handshakes are over on interview day.

Employers must recognise something in their staff when offering a job in the first place, and this appreciation should not be forgotten as a working relationship continues to mature. If an employee feels appreciated in their workplace they will continue to apply themselves, in the hope that their efforts will continue to strengthen their growing, or flagging, reputations.

Keep an eye on office politics:
The office is no longer the serene painting once depicted on early TV specials. Confrontations occur and cliques are an inevitable result of the nine-to-five lifestyle.

Keeping a watchful eye over your employees’ interactions could be the key to dampening flames before they spread. Encouraging integration and a better understanding of differing beliefs and experiences will maintain a relaxed atmosphere amongst those who feel neglected, developing a stronger team ethic in the process.

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Written by Andrew Hodges

November 28, 2009 at 10:26 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with ,

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