11 signs of stress, and what to do about them

By Andrew Hobbs on November 24th, 2017
  1. Employee health & wellbeing
  2. Workplace stress

WE all know that some stress is inevitable while at work, but there comes a time where to moves from being a temporary issue to one that is excessive and ongoing.

When it goes on for too long, stress can contribute to the development of anxiety or depression, and can increase a worker’s risk of injury, fatigue and burnout.

The Health & Safety Handbook recommends that you keep an eye out for the following signs and symptoms that may indicate that a worker is suffering from stress:

1. Concentration difficulties.

2. Fatigue.

3. Social isolation or withdrawal.

4. Irritable and argumentative behaviour.

5. Alcohol or drug use.

6. Indifference and reduced work performance.

7. Change in appetite, e.g. eating more or less.

8. Increased absenteeism.

9. Change in sleeping patterns.

10. Sadness, depression or anxiety.

11. Complaints of headaches, dizziness, aches or other physical symptoms.

Managing stress in other people

Stress can affect different people in different ways, and the things that cause stress in one person might be completely different in another.

However, no matter what an individual’s reaction might be, you and members of your senior team should often consider how your workers are managing and coping with their work and working environment.

Never try to work out whether a worker is suffering from stress or another psychological issue by asking their colleagues, without first asking the person in question.

If you believe a worker might be overwhelmed by their workload, you may be able to implement programs designed to help them better deal with stressful situations – helping them to focus on what they can control and setting smaller goals to make it easier to see progress.

If stress-related issues can be detected early, there is a much greater chance of both controlling the hazard and improving the employee’s work situation.

Further information about how to identify stress hazards in your workplace and about controlling the risks posed by those hazards is available in chapter S4 Stress of the Health & Safety Handbook.

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