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Time to de-stress your workplace

Evidence shows that for most people work can be beneficial for their physical and mental health. But when it is the stress of work that is leading to people being ill it is concerning.”


That comment came from the vice-chairman of the Royal College of GPs, Prof Martin Marshall in response to the release of statistics which reveal a rise in work-related stress disorders. Startling figures released by the health and safety executive (HSE) revealed that in 2017/18 some 595,000 workers in the UK suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety. Moreover, absence due to work-related stress accounted for 57% of all days “lost” through illness.


What is perhaps more worrying is that this is despite a reported increase in stress awareness. In fact the CBI has recently reported that more companies are focusing on staff wellness, with bosses increasingly recognising the need for taking preventative measures in order to boost the long-term well-being of employees.


With that in mind why are workplace stress levels rising? Well in part the answer will vary across business sectors. For example, those working in the retail sector may well be anxious about falling footfall and potential store closures whilst at the other end of the scale, particularly at Christmas time, those involved in online sales may be overwhelmed by the volume of orders. And it’s also perhaps easy to see why people may become stressed if their workplace is undergoing a major change such as a reorganisation or merger.


However there are other day-to-day stresses which in themselves may not seem to be too significant but which can accumulate until a breaking point is reached. Take something as simple as routine administration tasks, for example. Of themselves they may not prove to be a problem, particularly if businesses are of a sufficient size that they can employ full-time administrators.


But what if the volume of work is such that those administrators are placed under continuous pressure; or if in smaller operations individuals are expected to carry out their own administration work. In those instances routine tasks can prove to be the final stress point. Coping with continual routine phone calls or non-stop demands on time can impose a day to day pressure which erodes at resilience.  Not only that, fee earners may well find that a proportion of their day is taken up in administrative tasks, thereby reducing the earning potential of the business. For example, the best use of a physiotherapist’s time is in treating patients, not in booking appointments or sending out invoices.


Whilst there is no single panacea for reducing workplace stress levels, one solution which businesses could explore is the idea of working smarter not harder. In the physiotherapy example above perhaps the health practice could look at introducing an online or external booking service in order to reduce the number of routine calls. Similarly, taking card payment details at the point of booking can smooth out the invoice/payment workload for health practices; another stress point particularly if invoices have to be sent out and overdue payments chased.


Managing stress in the workplace starts with awareness. As we look towards 2019 are there steps which you could take in order to better manage routine tasks as a first step in de-stressing your workplace?

Contact us today to discover how Clinic Appointments can help your clinic. Book your free demo call now to learn more.