Going in to work is hard for many people and having had a holiday full of seasonal cheer may not make it any easier.
Work-related stress has been estimated to have an annual cost of £5.2 billion in Great Britain – a burden to individuals, businesses and the government.
The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) defines stress as ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them’, and makes clear that this is very different from any motivating ‘buzz’ that people may get when work is busy.
Whilst good employers may have systems in place involving planning of work tasks, training and support, this is sadly not always the case – leading to accidents, high levels of staff absence, high staff turnover, human errors and perhaps, contributing to the UK’s low level of productivity compared to other nations.
Interestingly the HSE has a list of ‘Common stress factors’. This consists of various questions – to which a ‘Yes’ response may indicate a work-related stressor.
These questions include the following:
- Are you issued with mobile equipment that makes you contactable out of normal working hours?
- Do customers (think they) have a right to the service, benefit or product?
- Is the role vocational e.g. nurse, doctor or teacher?
- Are pay rises linked to performance/attendance?
- Are you imposing the service on customers?
- Are changes imposed on the worker by outside regional or national bodies, authorities or ‘headquarters’?
Mind has some excellent tips for coping with stress at work – including:
- Not letting your life be work – by developing outside relationships, interests and skills.
- Taking time off – ensuring use of holidays that you are entitled to.
- Developing good relationships with colleagues.
- Developing end of day habits – such as making lists of things to do the following day or tidying one’s desk. These can help one switch off from work.
January can be a difficult month for many people. Talking therapies, such as BWRT, can help people to find the resources and resilience to cope with the challenges that life throws our way.