Work related stress has climbed to its highest rate in 16 years, according to the latest statistics. Data from the annual Labour Force Survey showed that 526,000 people who had worked in the last 12 months had a work-related mental health condition, compared to 487,000 in 2015–16 and 442,000 in 2014–15.
In productivity terms, the number of working days lost to stress, depression and anxiety also increased by 7% last year, rising from 11.7 million days in 2015–16 to 12.5 million in 2016–17. Compared to 2014–15, the increase is concerning: there were 25% more days lost last year than two years earlier.
(data from the Office of National Statistics)FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, THIS MAKES STRESS THE MOST COMMON FORM OF WORK-RELATED ILLNESS. Toxic relationships in the workplace cause stress
Does my organisation or team have a problem?
- Toxic relationships are one of the biggest sources of stress, especially where there are problems of bullying and harassment.
- Bullying, harassment and violence are behaviours which are unacceptable in the workplace just as they are outside the workplace. They can damage lives and an organisation’s productivity and reputation with clients. These behaviours can also lead to compensation claims from employees who have suffered from it.
- Harassment also causes an unsafe work environment which can lead to stress related illness and long-term absence from work.
Employers and/or HR Managers should review staff records, one-to-ones etc for historical evidence or suggestions of toxic behaviours. Have there been rumours or gossip brushed under the carpet? Is an employee off work for stress-related illness, or has somebody’s demeanour or standard of work changed ? Is the same person at the centre of joshing or horseplay that gets out of hand?
Hopefully, you won’t find any signs of bullying or harassment in your organisation but if you do, what do you need to do to change things and how do you prevent it from becoming a problem in the future? Preventing bullying and harassment from becoming a problem
Bullying and harassment must be dealt with quickly through appropriate HR procedures, then regularly monitored for further signs.
The recent scandals of types of inappropriate behaviour in the BBC and Parliament signpost the way. Remember this sort of harassment can be male on female, female on male, male on male and female on female.
This week is Anti-Bullying Week in England which shines a spotlight on bullying and encourages all children, teachers and parents to recognise and take action against bullying throughout the year. Carrying on the good work that this Week and similar campaigns should start as an employee joins the company at induction, along with individual training and regular training updates for both new and established members of staff.
Preventing harassment is a skill all employees need in order to establish and maintain a productive workplace in the office. Managers and employees should understand that part of their role is to ensure their own behaviour provides a model for standards required in the office/workplace and that bullying or harassing colleagues is not acceptable. Developing a culture or no tolerance to harassment in the office should be the goal of every employer and HR management.
Contact us for details of our fully interactive, high quality range of e-learning health and safety and leadership development courses. Topics include health and wellbeing in the workplace, leadership and development and industry specific training. Workplace Bullying and Harassment has a separate set of training programmes to suit all employees and situations. Courses start from £4 per person per course and are fully customisable to suit your organisation's needs.