As a busy manager with responsibility for managing people you will encounter workplace stress. You have a corporate and managerial responsibility to manage workplace stress but how much of what you know is fact and how much fiction.

Myth 1:  I am dispassionate when dealing with a colleague or team member suffering from workplace stress.

What you personally believe about managing workplace stress will be reflected in your approach to dealing with it, and this influences the culture of your organisation, top to bottom.

Myth breaker: Review your personal attitude to managing workplace stress and consider how your behaviour can promote a positive mental health in your team.

Myth 2: I am able to identify the signs and symptoms of stress both in my team and myself.

Your body’s stress reaction was designed to protect you but when it’s constantly on alert a person’s health can pay the price. Identifying when that protection mechanism turns from “good” stress into “bad” stress is complex and requires vigilance.

Myth breaker: Ensure you are familiar with the key triggers of workplace stress and have strategies in place to identify the signs and symptoms in not only your team but yourself.

Myth 3: Stress is part of everyday life and nothing can be done about it.

The long-term activation of the stress-response system — and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones — can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems, including heart disease, depression and memory impairment. That’s why it’s so important to learn healthy ways to cope with the stressors in your life.

Myth breaker: Familiarise yourself with stress relievers and consider how you can better support yourself and your team in applying them.

Myth 4: I can easily identify the potential causes of stress inside and outside the workplace.

As a busy manager you can become so familiar with working practices and culture in your organisation that you can overlook the potential sources of stress for both you and your team.

Myth Breaker: Ensure you are familiar with the key areas of work design that, if not properly managed, are associated with poor health and well-being, lower productivity and increased sickness absence: identify the primary sources of stress at work.

Myth 5: Workplace stress is a minor issue and is not business critical

The total number of cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2014/15 was 440,000 cases, a prevalence rate of 1380 per 100,000 workers. The number of new cases was 234,000, an incidence rate of 740 per 100,000 workers. The total number of working days lost due to this condition in 2014/15 was 9.9 million days. This equated to an average of 23 days lost per case. In 2014/15 stress accounted for 35% of all work related ill health cases and 43% of all working days lost due to ill health. [Source HSE – Work related Stress, Anxiety and Depression Statistics in Great Britain 2015]

Myth Breaker: Put in place robust strategies to address work place stress and measure days lost and productivity before and after.

Next Steps

You are a busy manager with many responsibilities to your organisation and your team. When you encounter stress in the workplace ensure you are prepared – its business critical.

  • Review your attitude to stress and consider how to promote positive mental health.
  • Familiarise yourself with the key triggers of workplace stress, signs and symptoms.
  • Identify stress relievers and support yourself and others in applying them.
  • Examine key areas of work design to identify the primary sources of stress at work.
  • Implement robust strategies to address work place stress and measure results.

Want to talk through in confidence how to identify stress triggers in your organisation? Contact Andrea.