How to identify stress in the workplace…

What is stress?… the definition provided by the Healthy and Safety Executive (HSE) is “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demands placed on them”.

As most people are aware stress is not a new problem, but it is something that employers now need to treat very seriously.

For employers the impact of stress is a very real problem.  Not only does it effect an employee’s health, morale, productivity, performance and attendance it can affect business productivity, employee turnover and reputation.

There is also a marked difference between stress and pressure.  In most jobs there is an element of pressure, but this can make employees feel challenged and motivated which can have a positive effect on performance.  Stress however, can cause a detrimental effect to employee’s mental and physical health and well-being.

According the the HSE there are six main causes of stress in the workplace:

  1. Demands – Employees may be unable to cope with the demands of their job, feel overwhelmed with work pattern, workload or environment.
  2. Control – Employees may feel stressed if they feel they are not in control about how they carry out their work, this can lead to them under-performing and feelings of isolation.
  3. Support – Employees can feel stressed if they are not being supported in the workplace by managers or colleagues.
  4. Relationships – If relationships within the workplace are causing stress, this can lead to allegations of bullying, harassment and bad team dynamics, and can lead to employee grievances being raised.
  5. Role – Employees can experience stress if they don’t understand what is expected of them in their role and responsibilities.
  6. Change – Managing change can be very stressful for employees, causing them to worry about how change will effect them.

As an employer it is always good to be vigilant as it is not just the workplace that causes stress.  In many instances personal issues such as relationships, family bereavement, illness and money can have an impact on a employees health.

Spotting signs of stress is key.  You may notice a change in an employee’s behaviour, habit or routine, for example smoking or drinking more, taking more time off or making uncharacteristic mistakes.

If you feel that you have an employee that is suffering with any of the indicators above and don’t know how to handle it, please get int touch with us at HR Revolution +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk, we can help you navigate any issues and make sure that your employee feels fully supported.

 

How to have a better Blue Monday

How is your Monday going?  It is the start of a new week, probably lots to do, reading and actioning emails and maybe planning ahead for yourself and your team members.

Did you know that today is “Blue Monday”, why you may ask,  it is because apparently the third Monday in January is labelled as the most depressing day of the year.

Its origin was once a year, due to a combination of factors: being a Monday, Christmas well and truly over, the weather being pretty dismal, holidays a long way off, all lead to feelings of negativity and impact on work productivity.

However, not all psychologists agree with this description:

“The reality is there’s no such thing as the most depressing day of the year and it trivialises serious mental health issues” says Dr. Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services at AXA PPP healthcare.  “Mental Health and Mental illness is an ongoing matter and achieving a good work-life balance is important to being a healthier you”.

The emphasis shouldn’t focus on a “once a year” effort to cheer employees up, but should be something that is addressed all year round, encouraging better worklife balance as Dr Winwood explains.

“When you are mentally well, you are better at making the most of your life and work.  That doesn’t mean you’ll never experience any type of emotional problem, but it can mean that you’re able to deal with difficult or stressful situations more easily.  Research also shows that positive people tend to live healthier lifestyles”.

However, Dr. Winwood agrees that the “Monday Blues” can lead to less motivation, so employers should be looking at ways to improve on employee morale.

“If you think you workforce are lacking Monday motivation, identifying the reasons behind the low morale is key.  For example, improving the working environment is just one step to changing this.  Some minor improvements, such as better lighting, more comfortable chairs, or a supply of hot drinks, water and caffeine free alternatives may improve things for everyone and thus alter the mood”.

AXA PPP have designed the above infographic with tips on how to power on through and stay positive whenever those feelings hit.  However, it is important to stress that depression and mental illness shouldn’t be blamed on any single day – as there are 52 Mondays/weeks in a year.

Lets have a happy Monday instead.

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A version of this article originally appeared on breatheHR

Prime Minister pledges to “transform” attitudes to Mental Health

I think the following is going to be a hot topic for many employers in 2017 and hopefully not a workplace taboo anymore…

Recent research from Mind states that around one in six UK workers experience a common mental health problem.

Prime minister Theresa May has pledged to help schools and companies “transform” attitudes to mental health problems.

In a speech to the Charity Commission, May said she will instigate a review on improving support in the workplace, led by mental health campaigner Lord Stevenson and Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of the charity Mind.

Research from Mind states that around one in six UK workers experience a common mental health problem such as anxiety or depression, and one in four people will experience a mental health issue each year. ACAS estimates that mental health problems cost UK employers £30 billion a year through lost production, recruitment and absence.

“For too long mental illness has been something of a hidden injustice in our country, shrouded in a completely unacceptable stigma and dangerously disregarded as a secondary issue to physical health,” May said. “Yet left unaddressed it destroys lives, it separates people from each other, and deepens the divisions within our society.

“I want us to employ the power of government as a force for good to transform the way we deal with mental health problems right across society, and at every stage of life.”

Additionally, the government plans to expand treatment by investing in and extending digital mental health services. More than £67 million will be spent on a digital mental health package so that people worried about mental health issues can go online, check their symptoms and access therapy.

Mr Farmer welcomed the announcement. “It’s important to see the prime minister talking about mental health, and it shows how far we have come in bringing the experiences of people with mental health problems up the political agenda,” he said.

“Mental health is everyone’s business and we need to see sustained leadership to make sure services and support improve for all of us with mental health problems. Having been neglected for decades, we need to see it made a priority for decades to come to make sure everyone with mental health problems can live the life they want to lead.”

If you have any issues in your workplace that you’d like to discuss in confidence, give HR Revolution a call on +203 538 5311

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A version of this article was first published on HR Magazine

There is no room for hate in the workplace

We’re currently living through some very uncertain times and there seems to be a story in the news weekly detailing the terrible things that are happening all over the world including acts of violence, racism, terrorism the list goes on. Sadly there is clearly a lot of hate around and that can sometime creep into the workplace, with people passing their opinion and judgement or just because some people stereotype and judge people unjustly.

So what exactly do employers need to be aware of, and what are your responsibilities as we navigate our way through what’s going on around us? Read on for advice and guidance.

Take a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination and harassment

If you witness hateful incidents in your workplace, it’s your responsibility to take action. Leaders should never turn a blind eye to such situations, and if you were to take this route, you’d be likely to find that everything very quickly escalated out of control.

Many of our clients employ diverse workforces and enjoy the many benefits of doing so, but it’s important that you have a plan in place when problems arise. Act fast, and in line with your existing people policies. Be firm, and lead by example. This is no time for waiting around or being ambiguous with your actions.

Contact the appropriate authorities where necessary

Some problems can be nipped in the bud immediately with some clear communication and a firm stand. Sometimes though, there are deeper issues at play, and things can very quickly spiral out of control. It may be the case that you need to involve the police.

This may seem like a big step to take, but it’s vital that you remember that you have a responsibility as an employer. The authorities will be able to give you advice on what to do next, and will be able to take any necessary steps to ensure that the situation is managed in accordance with the law.

Our advice for handling such issues is short and to the point. Take action quickly, and take a stand against any such behaviour.

If you suspect that your discrimination and harassment policies may be outdated or no longer fit for purpose, then now would be a great time to complete an audit of exactly where you are, and what challenges may be ahead.

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National “Unfriend” Day!

Ok, so here it is, only 25% of your “friends” on your social media are actual friends!

The rest are mostly made up of people you went to school with, which lets face it, are only there because you were nosy and wanted to know if either they had made anything of their lives, had let themselves go a bit or because you were hoping Mr and Mrs Popular have turned out to be pretty dull and non achieving, thus making you a little happier! Ok that’s harsh but true right! And the others on there I bet you can’t even remember meeting and a few you won’t even like.

So do you really want hundreds of friends? I mean why do you want to receive posts about a child who just tied their laces for the first time, that you have never even met because lets face it you haven’t seen the parents in 20 years! No let this madness stop and have a friend declutter Now! Here are a few questions you should ask yourself to help you decide who stays and who just has to go, and then I beg you take action…

Q. For a starter as I have just said, do they post loads of baby / childhood pics?

If Yes, ask yourself the next question…

Q. Do you even know the child or indeed the parent and have any kind of emotional attachment to them at all??

No? Well sorry, they’ve got to go. Tell them to bombard the Grandparents instead!

Q. Do they post spoilers for your favourite TV shows?

Ditch, ditch, ditch! come on people they signed their own “de-friend” warrant with that one!

Q. Do they post a constant stream of “smug shots” of their approval seeking “perfect life”?

Why are you depressing yourself – Delete!

Q. Do they find the need to send on “chain mails”?

It doesn’t come true people, it is just annoying… Goodbye!

Q. Do they constantly send you Candy Crush Requests?

Seriously tell them to spend the 79p and get rid!

Q. Do they post cute pics and funny videos of animals?

Well who doesn’t like that? They can stay 🙂

Q. Finally would you ever actually have a conversation with them?

What’s that, no you wouldn’t? Well you know what to do… Au Revoir!

Do you know what I feel better already, bet you do to!

With Social media actually on the decline, because people are “fed-up” with it ruling their lives, why make it even worse for yourself? Go on have a declutter of the friend kind

I apologise if anyone is offended by being unfriended, but bet they don’t even notice!

A version of this appeared on metro.co.uk

 

Know how to manage the ‘Mo’ during Movember

It’s that time again. It’s Movember!  (November renamed.)  If you think we may have accidentally pressed the ‘M’ rather than ‘N’ on our keyboard, then there is a good chance you haven’t yet heard of Movember; the month long, moustache-growing event which is a campaign designed to raise awareness surrounding prostate cancer. The ultimate goal of the movement is to raise awareness and encourage regular check-ups and early detection.

Movember is a fantastic way to unite any workplace, from small businesses to global corporations, and it is a great way to get behind a brilliant cause. For this reason we should all be encouraging others to take part. Businesses can encourage Movember participation in the workplace by holding fundraisers or moustache growing contest for the month of November, where the winning team/person could win a prize and/or a donation from the company to help fight prostate cancer.

If your company is considering participating in Movember here are a few things to consider:

From an employer’s perspective…

Movember comes with plenty of opportunities to work together in the office and support a good cause in a fun and engaging way.

Policies: It may be an opportunity to remind employees of particular policies; such as your dress code policy and the particular paragraph that mentions anything of the facial hair variety.

Naturally, this contest might possibly exclude the women within the workplace, so perhaps give them the responsibility of encouraging their work colleagues to attempt to grow the most impressive moustache by the end of the month. This will be effective at spreading the word and engaging support and boosting morale.

Impact on your clients/customers:  Will the unshaven faces of your employees have a negative effect on your employees doing business with your clients/customers? It is a worthwhile cause and it is only for a month however and if explained I’m sure most people will understand why your employees are a little more hairy than usual.

Matching donations: Some companies will match the money its employees raise for Movember. Think about if this is viable and what you could potentially as a business donate.

Publicise your company’s participation: Use your internal email list or intranet, put posters up, post about Movember on Facebook or on your LinkedIn page. Put a Movember collection box on the desk at reception to help raise funds and spread awareness to all who visit your office.

Competitiveness: Create a competition to see who can grow the best Mo in the office. The winner receives the honour of being the Man of Movember. (Nothing like a bit of healthy competition.)

As an employee…

In your ‘down time’ you have the freedom to express your individuality as you like through your appearance, but when you are in the workplace it’s a bit different.  Does your company have a dress code policy which mentions facial hair? It might be worth a check, before you ditch the razor and start dreaming of growing your Mo.

Just in case your team/office will be participating in Movember this year here are the official rules of Movember:

  1. For the entire month of Movember each Mo Bro should grow and groom a moustache.
  2. Don’t fake it. No beards, no goatees, no fake moustaches.
  3. You must begin on the 1st Movember with a clean shaven face.
  4. Use the power of the moustache to create conversations about men’s health and to raise funds for prostrate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health.
  5. Each Mo Bro must conduct himself like a true gentleman.

Still confused as to why November is now unofficially called Movember follow this link!

HRREV Blogger, HR Revolution | HR Outsourcing UK

How to have a great Stress Life!

Can you believe I am about to say this but… we need stress in our life!

OK so it is accountable for over a third of work related illness, poor performance, grievances, the odd law suit here and there and yes it can even kill us! But think about it…

Stress is the gap between what we want and what we already have, and it can be what spurs us to get up in the morning. It is how we manage it that is the key. We often create our own stress in an attempt to alleviate it, we get worked up about how we are going to achieve things, fit everything in so to speak or just be so keen to get what we want we take on too much and don’t stop to think.

So think about how you can plan the changes better to get to your end goal, think about what personally gets your stress level rising and work out whether maybe working as a team others can take on those elements. Commit… Truly give yourself chance to achieve something, don’t get put off at the first hurdle, realise what you are working towards and turn that stress into motivation.

I know it is not as easy as it sounds, I know very few people that have a stress free life, but I do not a lot who make it look that way and I bet you do too! Remember they are not perfect, none of us are so stop and look at what they are doing that helps them and use it in your own planning.

We know it can not always be done alone and you need help, training perhaps. HR Rev can work with you to help understand what the workplace stresses are, and help to show the strengths you have that will lead to success.

Get in touch if you want to create a happier, healthier and more productive work life, info@hrrev.co.uk