28.2 Million

A recent CIPD survey found stress to be the leading cause of long-term absence in non-manual workers. 28.2 million is the number of days lost due to ill health in this country in 2013/14 and work- related stress accounts for over a third of all new incidents of ill health. Each case of stress, anxiety or depression leads to an average of 23 working days lost and about one in six people say they find their work either very or extremely stressful. No wonder this is such an important area of concern.

My own experience teaches me that we all have coping mechanisms and yet we can also ignore the signs and symptoms until it may be too late. Some years ago I was developing a short questionnaire, based upon others research, that had 30 points of stress, i.e. if you were high scoring you were very stressed…low scoring quite unstressed, well I scored 19/30! However I justified this as being the nature of my exciting job, up in front of audiences, trying to convince them to adopt new ideas and behaviour (so always seeking new ways to put my message across) and travelling a lot! But I was definitely on the high side and did find ways to slow down and continue to have enormous amounts of fun, because if you know me, you know I love my job!!

But many people, particularly those in business drive themselves very hard and don’t know how to cope with the adverse reactions of long term stress. In fact in many businesses it is seen or thought of as weak to suffer from stress and we are expected to be completely resilient, so we cover up and cope! Until we become part of the statistics mentioned earlier.

Our intention is to help managers realise the ease with which they can have happy and productive staff, the kind of manager that staff are happy to turn to and who turn out great performance for them. To this end; in the context of resilience/stress, we are running short workshops which enable managers to openly discuss the challenges they face in managing these issue, be it from a management of staff point of view or from personal experience and we help them to take away some fundamental and easy to apply actions which will transform the results they get. One example was fed back to me recently; a manager was for the first time, really listening to her staff member (“a youngish person who was prone to go on a bit”), she said, she decide to use a tool we had discussed called ‘PROWS’ which is a adaptation of a coaching model; by enquiring in this way, she quickly got to the heart of the matter and what is more the member of staff found their own solution which the manager was happy to support. I know that she will now use this method again, but more importantly, where in the past she dreaded these kind of conversations, she said she can now see she can help, but not have to always have the answer – for her this is a great stress relief.

We can provide this kind of training in a number of ways; a breakfast, lunch or after work session, in a relaxed style, but talking about real issues and how to resolve them. Participants learn valuable techniques to manage situations and become more resilient and are invited to report back in the following weeks on their success stories…or even their horror stories and let us help them find further solutions to them.

How would it be to reduce the impact of stress in/on your business or own life, by adopting a few highly effective behaviours in place of actions which lead to stress, time off recovering or worse still, leaving the job because they can’t find ways to cope. The numbers are proof, this issue is damaging our economic recovery and yet it is often quite easy to deal with before it becomes a problem.