Stress and Anger Management for all Businesses.
Stress and Anger Management – work-related stress affects the self-employed, employers and employees. All businesses look at just two factors; “Does it make money?” or “Does it lose money?” Stress is something that causes losses in a business and not just financial. As can be seen from the information pages stress can cause psychological and physiological problems. It is a common cause of absenteeism and can result in poor business decisions being made, poor colleague relationships, loss of productivity and loss of profit. Managing the effects of stress or anger effectively will bring huge benefits to a business. Let us take a look at things that you may or may not be aware of. Stress and Anger Management is a legal and financial perogative.
The various costs of ignoring Stress and Anger Management in the workplace
Stress is a major causes of workplace absence in the UK. In a recent survey about 25% of employers said that stress is in the top five causes of staff absence. 40% stated they experienced an increase in stress-related absence for 2012*. Meanwhile the HSE reported that almost ten and a half million workdays were lost in
2011/12 due to stress ay work.
- Staff turbulence – it is well known that work related stress often causes high levels of staff turnover. This will disrupt any business and usually productivity will suffer. Recruitment and training all cost time, management hours and money.
- When an employee is under stress it is very likely they will make poor decisions and silly errors. Their judgement can be impaired about important matters, they can forget important details and upset others by being rude or argumentative.
- It does not take long before colleague relations and customer service deteriorates. People can take offence and business is lost.
- Employees experiencing work-related stress that is not dealt with internally can take their employer to court. Even out of court settlements can be very large.
*CIPD, Absence Management Survey, 2012.
Recognising the need for Stress and Anger Management in the workplace
Stress can be defined as the negative reaction a person may have to excessive pressures or demand put on them. Stress and pressure are not the same.
Stress often leads to negative behavioural changes in an employee
- Feel constantly “wound-up” and working a fast pace, so liable to have lapses in concentration.
- Not be able to “switch off” after they have gone home from work.
- Feel tired or drained all the time.
- Have feelings of dread about coming to work.
- Little or no sense of humour and find little enjoyment in anything.
- Become moody, unfriendly, withdrawn and irritable.
- They stay late or get in extra early and consistently refuse to take breaks because they “have to get all this done”
- Start to take work home when there is no real need to.
- Taking more sick leave due to minor ailments.
- Not realise the standard of their work has deteriorated.
- Drinks, smokes or eats more, may take drugs.
- Personal hygiene falls.
Stress can cause genuine physical illness
- Have frequent bouts of nausea, regular severe headaches and migraines
- Have unexplained aches and pains in their body or joints
- Have sleeping poor sleeping patterns including nervous insomnia
- Appear anxious or on edge all the time
- May be prone shaking or trembling, develop nervous tics
Recognise long term stress and illnesses.
- Stress is linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, ulcers, strokes, cancer, IBS and asthma, plus many more problems.
- It often causes anxiety and depression.
Stress and anger for managers and employers
- Business owners, managers and directors can often find their position to be lonely and somewhat isolating. This can cause stress as there is no support or help in decision-making.
- If things go wrong due to a lone decision it is more stressful as there is no-one to share responsibility with.
- You may need to seek help from a coach or mentor – so share the burden
- Find or create a network with others in a similar situation. You may be able to help each other and provide support.
Common causes for using Stress and Anger Management
- There are many different things to look at that cause could an employee to experience stress at work.
- It is very likely that you will need to address a few areas to reduce the stress caused
The demands of the job
- It is counterintuitive to regularly give any employee too much work to complete properly. It is just as bad to set deadlines that are not reasonable or realistic.
- The occasional high pressure load is justifiable – but consistently is not.
- Giving poor or insufficient instructions or training will cause stress as the employee will not be able to complete the task properly.
- Employees may wish to impress so take on too much, this must not be allowed to happen on a regular basis.
Long hours and reluctance to take leave
- Occasionally employees may need to come in early and leave late – say for covering absence, holidays or stocktaking.
- However; working in excessive hours for long periods often results in fatigue which may cause accidents, errors and lost profits.
Relationships at work
- A major cause of stress is due to problems with an employer, manager or other member of the staff
- Humiliation of employees, no matter by whom in the workplace, causes anxiety, stress and anger; so results in a loss of respect and co-operation from the employee.
- Bullying or aggressive behaviour will often lead to legal action by the person being bullied or humiliated
Management style – weak or indifferent
- These styles of management can lead to employee stress.
- If they fail to address problems or deal with employee conflict respect will soon vanish and demoralisation will occur.
Managing change poorly
- Most changes business operation will upset the working routine.
- If the management gives insufficient support or information before and during the upheaval it will create uncertainty, mistrust and stress or anger.
Lack of clear oganisational structure
- All business need clarity about roles, responsibilities and business objectives.
- When these are not in place it will cause confusion due to a major lack of direction.
- Bosses, employers, managers should never ignore employees’ personal problems.
- These may be the initial cause of stress in a person’s life which means they may not be able to withstand extra stress from work.
Tackling the causes using Stress and Anger Management
- Taking positive action to manage workplace stress for your employees can have a dramatic effect. They will tend to be more committed to their work within the business.
Where possible bring in measures to reduce the demands of the work
- Set all targets to be challenging but realistically attainable
- Ensure employees do not take on too much work.
- Encourage delegation or outsourcing where possible.
- Provide adequate training, not only in the job at hand but also things like: time management, prioritisation, assertiveness and asking for help when necessary.
- Ensure all staff are aware of “time thieves”.
Make sure a long-hours culture does not develop
- Make sure all take a proper lunch break – no eating on the job.
- Encourage staff to leave on time as much as possible
- Encourage employees to have all their holidays
Put in place policies and procedures to create better working relationships
- Make sure there is a proper policy on bullying and harassment.
- Provide interpersonal skills and communication training
- Ensure there is someone that employees can go to in confidence with their problems
Develop a style of management that is productive
- Let employees know their work is valued and appreciated. Reward accordingly. draconian sanctions inhibit profit and cause stress and resentment
- Review performance regularly and give constructive feedback.
- Only if possible, operate an open door policy. If not to you as a manager but to their line manager about stress inducing situations.
- Monitor levels of absence and sickness leave. Have a policy in place for this that all the workforce know about.
- Have a stress policy in place detailing how you will deal with any workplace stress.
Inform everyone about changes that will affect them
- Employees must understand the long-term goals of the business.
- Fully explain the need for any change and how they could be affected.
- If need be hold meetings so that everyone is clear about what is happening and knows what is expected of them.
- Ask for input, ideas and opinions.
Establish clear job descriptions for all workers
- Every employee should know their personal objectives and responsibilities.
When appropriate offer support to employees experiencing personal problems and difficulties
- Give employees time off if necessary.
- Would they be better off with flexible working arrangements.
- Encourage employees to seek professional help when it is obviously required
Using Stress and Anger Management in the workplace
Be aware of your legal responsibilities for stress and anger management
- Under health and safety regulations you are responsible for the occupational health of your employees.
- Implement the Health & Safety Executive management standards to ensure best practice
Undertake a stress risk assessment of your employees
- This audit should highlight real and potential causes of stress
- It should be based on the risks identified in the HSE’s Management Standards
- The audit can be completed by using questionnaires or by interviewing staff individually or in groups.
Develop and implement an effective stress policy which applies to the whole workforce
- Ensure all managers and other employees understand their role and responsibility in managing workplace stress.
- Consider offering access to counselling or other services