Work-related stress: How to spot the symptoms and what employers can do to support employees
Certain behaviours may be typical for one individual and may be a sign of stress for another. There is no one-size-fits-all list that can apply to every individual, but we can look at common symptoms and ask ourselves if we have spotted the following changes:
- Loss or increase in appetite
- Procrastinating or avoiding responsibilities
- More use of drugs, alcohol or cigarettes
- Nervous behaviours like nail-biting, fidgeting or pacing
Because people handle stress very differently, symptoms of stress can vary, and symptoms can be vague or the same as those caused by medical conditions. Hence, employers who create an environment where employees feel safe and empowered to communicate honestly will benefit from higher productivity.
2. Withdrawn and disengaged
Stress tends to cause people to isolate themselves. This reaction is often used to feel in control of the situation or to cope with a stressful social situation, such as reaching out to someone for mental health support.
Their confidence may have taken a hit as they realise that they cannot manage their feelings on their own, and as a result, they avoid anything that might push or exacerbate these feelings. Employers and business leaders can co-create goals with employees that are meaningful and measurable and show that individual successes are connected to the business’s success.
3. Accidents or more frequent mistakes
Prolonged work-related stress, or burnout, can manifest itself as inefficiency or a decline in work output. Employees who might have been highly engaged at one point but didn’t have the mental health training to preserve their well-being are more likely to produce work with mistakes or miss deadlines altogether.
Between 60 and 80% of workplace accidents result from stress-induced issues. Stress at work not only impacts employee health but also affects workplace safety. Stress often results in workplace accidents because it causes individuals to think about a problem rather than be attentive to their surroundings.
How can employers put support in place for their workforce?
- Understanding what leads to stress
- Identifying signs and symptoms
- Practical tips and exercises for managing stress
- Peer support
4. High turnover in the workplace
Employees with workplace stress tend to be unhappy in their work situations. If they don’t have leaders with the training needed to point them towards mental health resources, they won’t feel supported by the company and will look elsewhere for work.
Nowadays, several company-review websites, like GlassDoor or LinkedIn, give potential employees a glimpse into a company’s culture and how they support the mental health of their workforce.
When companies have employees who constantly come and go, this is a tell-tale sign that this is a stressed workforce that is not comfortable sharing its struggles with its leadership team.
Mental health training for Stress Management
Onebright uses clinically proven techniques to empower your workforce to develop life-enhancing strategies to cope with daily life pressures at work and at home. Our popular courses, delivered by mental health clinicians, guide and support robust mental health training.