Stressed Employers & Managers?

There is a heavy legal burden on any Employer to ensure that they support their staff adequately, helping them to minimise any stress that they may experience, not only in the and from the work place, but also in their home and social environments. The Government, quite rightly and clearly sets out the employers obligations ( and employees
rights (

It is well known that as humans we built to respond to
appropriate amounts of stress, it is how we perform and managing performance is vital for the success of any business. The employes rights and employers obligations do not detract from this unreasonably, after all a contract of employment will exist and the work needs to be done. 

Larger employers will have HR departments (and some employers may use HR advisors) to write policies processes, and procedures, even so the Executive, Director or Owner Manager will still need to spend their time, resources and emotions in managing those policies. This covers their legal liability.

However there are good financial reasons too. A previous article ‘Talking therapies as effective return to work strategies” described how common psychiatric disorders, such as depression and anxiety had a major negative impact on productivity. The article explained that the research seemed to indicate that the current processes adopted by organisations to combat stress were not being effective. It went on to explain how Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was found to be an effective approach in aiding an early return to work.  The article also explained that early intervention in the sickness period also encouraged earlier return to work. This article builds on that by suggesting that even earlier preventative intervention, before staff go absent, is even more effective.

The economic reasons for this are clear:

1. The CBI (1998) showed that 90 million working days were lost to stress.

2. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) state that £12bn is spent on stress
related absenteeism, which they predict will become £36bn by 2020.

This does not include the cost of the director or owner manager who is left with their stress of managing: not just the processes and the residual costs of stress related absenteeism, but also the impact on their work community, team performance and business goals.

UMIST studies stated that between 30% & 50% of work-related stress is attributable to work-place bullying, with other estimates claiming that, at any time, about 20% of the workforce are currently being bullied. Of course both
bullied and bullies need counselling support, but even after that is done and perhaps they have been “dealt” with by the “system”, the Executive is still left with the residue of ill feeling, disruption and the departure of expensively-trained, often highly-functioning employees.

It would be fair to argue that Employers get work-related stress too!

It is claimed that at least 50% of premature deaths are attributable to lifestyle and stress-related illness. What might be the impact on the manager/employer who
has to cope constantly with that? The employers need an advocate in their corner. Such an advocate should sensibly and effectively be a counsellor, and cannot only support them to balance their lives (and Emotional Needs Audit provides the structure), but can also put into place early, preventative and supportive counselling & coaching, either by phone or in person that can resolve and/or alleviate conflict between employers or within themselves. In this way the Executive is supported, not just in meeting their legal duty of care, but in demonstrating they do care.

It can easily be seen how this leads to greater employee motivation, co-operation and loyalty; factors that all businesses often rank as Key Performance Indicators
and Critical Success Factor. A counsellor or coach, knowledgeable of you and your business, can be critical in adding success.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Stevenage SG1 & London W1G
Written by Keith Abrahams, MBA, MHGDip
Stevenage SG1 & London W1G

The most common reasons clients seek help from me are related to stress, anxiety, depression, anger, relationship, and work-related issues. This might be related financial stress, promotional issues or challenging life, business, and career choices. Often these challenges have their roots in issues...

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