Went to a seminar yesterday on managing stress in the workplace - given by a local legal firm. Some very good advice and discussion. Stress is a huge cost to business at the moment, and the cost is estimated to be £3.7bn per year with 13.8m days lost. Stress accounts for over a third of new instances of ill health, and as was pointed out, has replaced the bad back as the most common reason for being absent from work.
So, lots of reasons to be aware of the signs and symptoms of stress amongst employees and to make sure you have good practices in place to minimise the risk of employees suffering from stress. What we should be aiming for is a happy, mentally healthy workforce who are able to do their jobs and a system in place for managing issues if they arise.
Lots of interesting discussions around how to recognise stress - (or how do you know you're not freaking your workforce out as someone put it), and how to deal with it. There's also the issue of what it is - is suffering from stress the same as being stressed? We all get stressed occasionally, some people thrive on it, and all deal with it in different ways.
We worked throught some case studies, and looked at the HR and legal isues relating to all of them. It's something I'll be sharing with the managers in the department and I hope will be discussed within each team so that we can make sure we have good practices in place.