Identifying stress within your business

Small business insight

1 January 2018

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How do you know if there’s a problem with stress within your company? It’s important to be able to notice early enough when any of your staff may be experiencing difficulties so that you can make an appropriate intervention.

As with anything, prevention is better than cure, and many bosses are often unaware of the early warning signs of stress in their team with the result that the first they hear about it is when they get a doctor’s note signing the individual off work with a stress-related condition.

Paying attention to the behaviour of the individuals in your team can help you ‘nip things in the bud’ before they develop too far. The following are some of the early warning behavioural signs that may indicate problems:

  • Loss of motivation or commitment to the job
  • Poor timekeeping or attendance record
  • Presenteeism - working extra long hours but with no significant affect on performance
  • Uncharacteristic displays of emotion such as angry outbursts or crying
  • Withdrawal from general social contact at work – isolating self
  • Increase in poor decision making or mistakes
  • Avoidance – of either you or of additional work or responsibility
  • Forgetfulness
  • Missing deadlines or poor planning or work

The main point is to be observant of any changes to people’s behaviour. For example, one individual may normally be prone to occasional irritable outbursts when under pressure however if this individual starts becoming increasingly quiet and withdrawn then this indicates a change to their usual behaviour and would warrant investigation.

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