Are you asking the right questions to help identify stress in the workplace?

As we head into a particularly challenging time for many people- Christmas and the prospect of a ‘New Year’,  I wanted to raise awareness of the Health and Safety Executive ‘Talking Toolkit’ and share some useful information on preventing work-related stress.

It’s good to talk! Are you asking the right questions to help identify stress in the workplace? The toolkit is designed to help line managers hold initial conversations with employees as part of the company strategy for the prevention of work-related stress.

We know that via the P3 Business Care support we give to employees with our twice weekly visits, starting the conversation is an important first step towards preventing work related stress so that we can then proactively address the issue.

The six conversations

The ‘Talking Toolkit’ provides six useful questions and by completing the them either individually or in teams, it will help create a picture of the potential causes of stress in your organisation.

  1. Conversation One: Demands

Are the requests placed upon staff commensurate with the hours they are working? Are their skills and experience at the required level to achieve the expected performance?  Do they have any concerns about their working environment?

  1. Conversation Two: Control

Are they consulted over the way work is organised and delegated e.g. via regular reviews?  Do staff have an opportunity for input particularly around new pieces of work? Are they encouraged and allowed to use their initiative?

  1. Conversation Three: Support

Do your staff receive encouragement and support from colleagues and managers? Is there systems and processes in place to allow this to happen? Do employees know what is available and how to access it? Do they receive regular feedback?

  1. Conversation Four: Relationships

Do you ensure that employees are not subjected to unacceptable behaviours such as bullying or harassment in the workplace?  Does the organisation promote positive behaviours at work?  Do you have agreed policies and procedures to prevent or resolve unacceptable behaviour? Do you have systems in place to enable and encourage employees to report unacceptable behaviour?

  1. Conversation Five: Role

Do employees understand their role and responsibilities within the organisation? Do you provide relevant information to bring clarity as to their role and responsibilities? Are the requirements placed on them by the organisation clear and unambiguous?

  1. Conversation Six: Change

Does the organisation engage with employees frequently when undergoing change? Are they provided with timely information enabling them to understand the reasons for the proposed changes? Are employees consulted and provided with opportunities to feedback and influence the changes? Are they aware of the potential impacts of any changes and if necessary given training to support any changes in their job role?

Resources for support

The following links provide further information and guidance:

What work-related stress is and how to tackle it: stress/what-to-do.htm

HSE’s guidance on work-related stress

HSE’s Management Standards to prevent work-related stress: standards/

Mind’s guide to stress and how to manage it: media/1993364/how-to-manage- stress_2015.pdf

Healthy Working Lives (Scotland) provide information and guidance on tackling stress in
the workplace which includes a free online survey tool: http:// workplace-guidance/mental- health/Pages/stress-at-work.aspx

About P3 Business Care

P3 Business Care is a Community Interest Company and social enterprise operating across the UK. Visiting your business on a weekly basis we provide personal and proactive support to your employees working in partnership with the company. We develop trust & relationships so we can identify and address issues before they become absence or staff turnover.  Read more about our services here