Working with Stress doesn’t work
It’s the ILO’s World Day for Safety and Health at Work and this year’s campaign is aiming to raise awareness of workplace stress.
Often overlooked by others or dismissed for too long by sufferers it can hit anyone, at any level in any sector; an adverse reaction to extreme demand and pressure at work. Unchecked it can eventually develop from a state to a fully blown mental illness with potentially serious physical implications as well.
Characterised by symptoms including persistent negativity and depressing feelings, abrupt excessive emotional reactions and a loss of motivation continuous stress can result in altered eating habits, unsettled sleep patterns and ultimately begin to seriously affect our ability to work effectively. Managers and supervisors have a duty to address issues in the workforce they are immediately responsible for which may lead to excessive stress and to be vigilant for its symptoms, while employees and direct sufferers should never ignore its presence.
If you do feel under unmanageable pressure in the workplace there are a variety of steps which can be taken to help alleviate the situation and make a positive change:
- Talk directly with your employer, explaining why you cannot cope and how the current arrangement may be putting your health at risk and suggest possible improvements.
- Speak with a doctor or MD.
- Contact an independent organisation concerned with mental health such as MIND.
Remember that doing nothing about a stress problem will always be the worst solution.
HSE statistics from 2014/15 estimate that the total number of work related stress, depression and anxiety statistics for the UK numbered at around 440,000 breaking down to 1380 for every 100,000 employees accounting for 35% of the ill health problems in the workforce and 43% of lost days.
Workplace pressures and demands can often leave us feeling inadequate and alone in our struggles with the lines between our professional and personal lives becoming blurred; fear of losing a job or failing to meet standards often pushing us beyond a reasonable work ethic. It’s important to keep in mind that your personal wellbeing is never worth sacrificing for short term gain while your organisation suffers in the long term should you become unable to do your job.