How to spot and deal with stress

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Dr John BrazierRecognising the warning signs of a stressed employee early on is relatively simple.

Taking proactive steps to tackle the problem not only curbs other issues like absenteeism and burnout, it can also create a healthy and productive working environment and have a positive impact on your bottom line.

What to look for:

An employee suffering from stress will generally not act themselves and you’ll notice an obvious change in their personality.

This could be that they are more withdrawn than usual, they are not as chatty and sociable as they normally are, there’s a loss of sense of humour that means they don’t join in as much with team dynamics and they’ll be much less communicative and have less input in meetings, often showing signs of negativity and unhelpfulness to new ideas.

Possible causes:

Heavy workloads, looming deadlines, relationship struggles and financial difficulties are all common causes of stress, but other sources often aren’t taken into consideration.

For example, someone who is suffering from physical pain or is unwell might not be sleeping well at night. This will naturally put them in a state of stress (the fight or flight reflex) before their day even starts, from that point any external stress they experience will be magnified.

Sometimes stress can be caused by an unwell spouse or partner. It’s worth considering the little things that niggle, as well as looking in the most obvious of places.

The next step:

Having an open-door policy is absolutely crucial. It makes the difference between an employee who feels he can shares his problems – and a problem shared is a problem halved – and one who bottles things up only for everything to eventually get worse.

Talking will help ease the burden, but sometimes it may require the intervention of a GP, a counsellor or a therapist.

At the Corporate Doctor, we encourage a system of professional complementary support offering management training to quickly recognise and deal with the stress, along with providing supporting treatments.

This means assessing and addressing the root cause of a problem, personal education and recovery techniques, as well as treating the stress itself. If back ache is causing a loss of sleep, only treating the bad mood that follows will have limited effect.

Treating the back ache itself will cut out stress, improve blood flow, lift the mood of your employee and see their productivity rise.

All companies reap the rewards of motivated employees.

Dr John Brazier (TCM) MSc, The Corporate Dr.