Managing stress related absence

Managing absence in the workplace is a challenge for employers. Stress at work is a principal cause of sickness absence and a significant issue to tackle.

However, the benefits of tackling stress in the workplace are significant. Staff will be happier, resulting in better performance, and lower staff turnover means the business can run more effectively.

Acas has provided this helpful guidance on causes of workplace stress and how you can support your staff:

Demands – employees often become overloaded if they cannot cope with the volume or the type of work they are asked to do. Pay attention to the way the job is designed, any training needs and even whether it’s possible for employees to work more flexible hours.

Control – employees can feel undervalued and perform poorly if they have no say over how and when they do their work, so think about involving staff in some decision making where possible.

Support – absence often increases if employees are unable to speak to managers about their concerns. Managers should be properly trained, listen, and aim to address any issues at an early stage.

Staff can feel anxious if they do not know what is expected of them.

Relationships – failure to build relationships based on trust and positive behaviour can cause problems. Ensure you have policies in place to deal with grievances, disciplinary matters, sickness absence and for tackling bullying and harassment.

Role – staff can feel anxious if they do not know what is expected of them. Implement an induction process, prepare accurate job descriptions and maintain a close link between individual targets and organisational goals.

Change – this needs to be managed effectively to stop it having an effect on workplace morale and performance. Plan ahead and consult staff over any changes so their views are properly considered.