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Stress in the Workforce

This assignment will be investigating Stress in the Workforce, history of stress the definition of stress, what are the causes of stress, how society deal with stress, severe medical conditions relating to stress, Government statistics,  New  Government  funding implemented by utilizing an Independent Assessment Service (IAS) to try and alleviate  stress, available to  support of employer's counselling therapies that help with recovery programmes from stress, United Kingdom in comparison with United States, top 10 stress busters to reduce stress, tips to alleviate angry customers,  different counselling therapies and the way they help towards recovery of stress. Information on running a Healthy Working Environment, Government Legislation, reasons for workforce stress, recommendations of manager's role and responsibility towards staff, new Government strategies to help reduce stress by implementing different structures to help recover from stress, counselling therapies and the different roles each of them instigate to help towards recovery, and support charities that are available to the public.

The father of stress research in physics  was Hans Selye through observing patients he noticed that they all looked ill, and the patients were under physical stress, his hypothesis suggested stress was similar to “ bending a piece of metal until it snaps this occurs because of the force, or stress, exerted on it”   this theory could be similar to an elastic band being stretched to its limit before breaking point,  Hans Selve  began using the term stress after completing his medical training at the University of Montreal in the 1920s (CSHS, 2016). Over the next 30 years' scientists led tests with results signifying that there are different types of stressors, that result in the release of stress hormones, indicating these stressors are different for every individual, although there are some shared components, there are similar situations that raise stress hormones in humanity.

The definition of stress, the body's inability to function when there have been too many demands placed upon a person, it can affect a person mentally, physically, spiritually, also affect their behaviours  (HSEb, 2016).

However, (Foundation, 2016). State that all sorts of situations can cause stress, these include, money worries, relationship problems, children or family members, divorce, grief, not being appreciated in work, moving house, new baby, childhood history of being abused and tortured which can have many years of adverse effect on the sufferer and may not appear until later life.

 Although (Mind, 2013) has a very long exhaustive list of common symptoms of stress. These are several symptoms on the list are aggressiveness, feelings of being violent, anxiousness, impatient, thoughts whizzing around in the head, depressed, hard to make decisions, lethargic, poor concentration, low self-esteem, insomnia, feeling neglected, lonely, these are just a few to mention. Although according to (NHS Choices your health, 2014) the way people tend to deal with stress is  excessive smoking, consuming more  alcohol, and overeating, which then leads to other medical conditions, the more serious stress  related diseases are  according to (Palmer S, 1996)  coronary heart disease, (angina and heart attacks) Hypertension, strokes, the list is indefinite as there is a very long list of medical conditions associated to stress.  

Stress in the workforce is a major ongoing concern, Health and Safety Executive (HSEb, 2016) identify that workplace stress can affect anyone at any time, and is not restricted to any certain conditions. Work is an important factor in our everyday lives, it is a source of Income, self-esteem, and personal development, society is living in an ever-changing world, people must adapt with technological and social changes, (Cooper, 1996). The work environment incorporates a variety of psychological developments which are likely to merge in differential ways by conventional jobs, for a diverse workforce. (Cooper C L, 1995) .

Although (Rhaynukaa, 2014) states “stress is the new back pain” it cannot be seen with the naked eye, or cannot be proven, although the numbers of workers who suffer from stress is expanding. despite the fact stress is classed as a mental health illness, and needs to be given due. consideration and handled with dignity and respect and gentility towards the employee.

Statistics on a report by  (Dame Black, 2011)  sickness figures on this report suggest that “Every year 140 million working days are lost to sickness absence” the report also stated new approaches to help reduce employee's sickness leave by implementing new strategies for employers to implement, which is the Government funding an Independent Assessment Service (IAS). This service would investigate the reason for an employee's health problem, and implementing  approaches to help the employee back to work, which should be provided by” approved health care professionals, be  appropriately quality controlled” this service should be implemented when an employee's has been on sick leave after 4 weeks,  the report also states that employers could save” approximately £100million a year in sick pay by implementing (IAS) which would even increase their economic output of around “£150 million a year”. The report also suggested that the Government, would also benefit from the extra tax revenue from a larger economic output it also stated “the reformed system could save £400 million a year for employers and up to £300 million a year for the State, and boost economic output by up to £1.4 billion”. Information provided by  (BASES, 2012)

A report on stress provided by (HSEc, 2016)) on the Department of work and pensions DVLA “Stress Management Project”  stated that a total number of stress related cases were between 2010/2011 was “400,000 out of a total 1,152,000 for all work-related illnesses” This compared to 10.8 million working days lost in that year, with each employee suffering from stress, on average, taking 27 days off work. During the 2011-2012 working year, the DVLA Call Centre reported an average of 9.96 working days were lost per person; and of the total number of lost working   days, 23.7% were stress related. However Chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, in September,2014 specified that greater support was needed for people suffering with stress related mental health problems” According to her report, around 70 million working days were lost to mental illness last year, costing the economy up to £100bn  (People Management, 2014). In comparison statistics states show that sickness leave has increased between 2011/14 . However according to (J, 2016) The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) state that mental health issues, which are associated with stress can be depression, and anxiety, employees took 112.000 sick days off due to these health problems it is not unusual for DWP workers to report higher levels of stress related illnesses. DWP workers deal with the public enquiries, and call centre staff interact  with the general public via telephone , (J, 2016)  suggests that when answering the telephone always assume the caller has a right to be angry and suggests 10 powerful tips to diffuse a customer's anger,   The (HSEc, 2016)  reported that during 2014/15 statistics were 440,000 cases to work related stress a prevalence rate of 1380, per 100.000 workers Labour Force Survey (LFS) although according to figures by in comparison to the United Kingdom (UK), (WillisTowersWatson, 2013)  United States (US) state that stress is classed as the biggest issue arising in the workforce, employee's state the top three reasons for workplace stress are “ lack of work/life balance (86%), inadequate staffing (70%) and technologies that expand employee availability during nonworking hours (63%)”  inadequate staffing is classed as the number one reason for stress, low pay or low pay increases in second, and thirdly unclear job expectations.  (Graitwich M J, 2014)   suggests that Human Resources (HR) and Health and Safety Managers” have an important role in assisting employers to proactively address work related stress, and in doing so reduce the likelihood of employees suffering from work related stress.” (S, 2016).   stress is the big factor in public service industries, such as healthcare workers, support which involves care, education teachers, public services, and defence. (Cambridge, 2014)The reasons are employee's feel that they are expected to work to unrealistic deadlines which put demands on them, technology overload, unmanageable workloads, and understaffing and compensating for staff who are already off on sick leave, the pressure from managers to staff to meet dead lies on time although there are staffing issues. Lack of decision making and liaison with staff through managers, unrealistic targets to be met in a small timeframe.

(Graitwich M J, 2014) comments there are six points of stress which can add to an employee suffering from stress if these points are not handled effectively and not put into practise in the workforce.

 Demands:  Employees agree that they are capable to cope with the demands of the job.

Control: Employees agree that they are involved with the procedures of the way they work.

Support:  Employees agree that it helps when they receive satisfactory information and encouragement from work colleagues, and managers.

Relationships:  Employees imply that they should not be subjected to offensive actions such as bullying, harassment and intimidation. (S, 2016). States that the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and race Relations 1976, employers can be held responsible for any acts such as aggravation, pestering, even if they have been unaware.

Role:  Employees suggest they should be given adequate training to understand their job description and what is expected of them to the tasks required.

Change:  Employees signify that corporations should connect and share information with them regularly when undertaking any changes to the corporation.

Although according to (HSEc, 2016)  The  Management Standards  should follow a set of procedures that work in the best interest of their staff, and  “reflect a high level of health well-being and organisational performance” Which agree with the standards set out by the  HSE,relax and have fun,  (S, 2016) recommends try to implement exercise into the daily routine physical exercise can be great stress buster it releases the happy hormones which can improve mood and productivity, also there are added benefits of feeling fitter, happier and can also help with weight loss, other important factors are   don't be afraid to seek  help, can be a major step in recovery,  and attend a counselling program

There are many different counselling therapies available for workplace stress according to (NHS Choices your health, 2014) which are:

Counselling:  

This is more commonly known among the counselling roles and available through the National Health Service (NHS) through application by General Practitioner (GP) it consists of 6-12 talking sessions, which is held in complete confidence, which helps you talk through the issues which are relevant to the problem the patient is dealing with.

 Counselling Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT helps the patient look at the positives that are in their life, and work towards positive changes to help deal with painful past experiences, CBT is used to help different mental health problems. (NHS, 2016).

Psychotherapy:

Psychotherapy is different to Counselling and (CBT) Psychotherapy is usually held in a clinic hospital setting it is a longer process it is usually an hour session and can continue up to a year or more this can be useful for people who suffer from long term recurring difficulties.

There are many different types of psychotherapy. The type used will depend on personal needs and which method the psychotherapist thinks will be most helpful to the individual to help towards resolving the individual's issues. (NHS, 2016).

Person-Centred Counselling – a person can feel comfortable about talking about their problems where the therapist will listen and look at the person's experiences from several points of view   in a non-judgemental setting. there are various kinds of therapy which can be used in a variety of ways to solve different situations and personal problems. (NHS, 2016).

The mindfulness program, (Kabat-Zinn, 2015) mindfulness is a recent new  government initiative program  (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy) (MBCT) “should be commissioned in the NHS in line  with (MBCT) it is recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines so that it is available to the 580,000 adults each year who will be at risk of recurrent depression. As a first step, MBCT should be available to 15% of this group by 2020, a total of 87,000 each year” the way this therapy works is looking innermost into a personal experience, It is refined by thoroughly exercising one's capacity for focusing on attention, on purpose, being in the present moment,” and non-judgmentally, and by learning to inhabit and make use of the clarity, discernment, ethical understanding, and awareness that arise from tapping into one's own deep and innate interior resources for learning, growing, healing, and transformation, available to the patient who can use it through  their lifespan by virtue of being human.” (Kabat-Zinn, 2015) although according to the (J, 2014) New Government initiatives  would like to introduce mindfulness into the  educational system, it is viewed as a very helpful approach to recovery, it has been proven “ The practice of mindfulness has been shown to calm the body down, reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol and even reduce the size of grey matter in the amygdala “ it is also suggested that mindfulness practised in schools builds self-esteem and better grades in school work if this is followed through then the outcomes could indicate the future generation of employee's would be able to deal with stress in a more manageable  approach and could be beneficial to the upcoming  working environment . Government Legislation has implemented guidelines for Employers to follow to keep people safe in work some of these are:

Legislation at work   Healthy and Safety at Work Act 1974

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Cambridge, U. o., 2014. Causes of Work Related Stress. [Online]

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Cooper, C. S. A., 1996. Successful stress management in a week. Trowbridge Wells: Hodder & Stouton Educational Redwood Books.

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Section 2 of this Act states all employers have a duty towards their employees, to safeguard them and to ensure the health and safety is practised for the welfare of all employees.

Companies should implement Safety representatives and Committees Regulations 1977 (SRSCR 1977)

These regulations run beside Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 which give the safety representatives strong legal rights, all employers are required to check with the safety reps to make and maintain arrangements, so all the employees can work in a safe and healthy environment, there should also checks be made to make sure they are being maintained. (S, 2016).

There are several support charity organisations that deal with help with stress related illness

These are Rethink Mental Illness, (Illness, 2016).   MIND. (MIND, 2016). Charity Choice  is a registered charity that has a list of registered charities that can direct the public to receive the

help that they need. (Ltd, 2016). Also, NHS choices have a selection of different charity support on their Mental Health Forum webpage, some of these include, Anxiety UK, CALM, Mental Health Forum, No Panic, Papyrus, Rethink Mental Illness, Samaritans, Sane, Young Minds. There is a lot of support for this ongoing workforce stress problem.

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