|Work Place Blues|
|Written by Miles Cooper|
|Friday, 18 January 2008|
Page 1 of 3
Poor work-life balance, long and anti-social working hours and pressure to perform in a competitive environment are common workplace concerns that can result in stress. With between 30% and 60% of absence thought to be stress related, it’s clear to see that Scottish workers and businesses are fighting a fierce battle against work-related stress.
You might argue that you’re only stressed at work but when you consider that up to 80% of your personal energy goes into work: being at work, traveling to work, worrying or complaining about work. Imagine the impact a positive working experience has on your life?
Recent research points to
the fact that depression and anxiety have now replaced back-pain as the
most common reason for prolonged absence from work. Surprising isn’t
it? Well, not if you consider that almost three quarters of Scots know
someone close to them who has been diagnosed with a mental health
A Health & Safety Executive initiative called Work Positive is geared towards identifying all known causes of workplaces stress.
Robert Atkinson, national coordinator comments: “Stress is not only bad for an individual’s health but, in small companies particularly, stress is also very bad for business, resulting in the loss of key staff and reduced productivity. Businesses have a legal and moral obligation to address work-related stress and we regularly signpost small businesses to ‘Work Positive’ for free and easily implemented risk assessment advice to ensure they follow best practice, help to protect and improve staff health and well-being and don't fall foul of the law.
John Stevenson, secretary of the Edinburgh branch of Unison, reports “a steady stream of stress related cases.” Stevenson suggests that “bad management and an increase in workload seem to be the cause of the majority of cases. Employers must recognise that an employee’s performance will suffer through stress & the longer it goes on the worse it gets for all concerned.
cases of work place stress can be directly attributed to placing an
unrealistic burden on an employee. “With tighter management structures
there is less flexibility than in past to share workload amongst staff
therefore you have a situation where more is expected of an individual.
I think it is crucial that management improve their recognition of this
issue although I do believe there has been progress in recent