BWC_StressMAINSTRESS is a natural part of living and a certain level can be healthy and help to drive performance.

But excessive stress can be harmful and can lead to other issues.

Workplace stress affects 1 in 5 of the working population from the newest recruit in the post room to the board of directors.

It is the single biggest cause of sickness in the UK and is directly responsible for 25% of absenteeism. More than 105 million days are lost to stress each year, costing UK employers £1.24 billion.

Surprisingly, despite the growing concern of increasing stress levels in the workplace, a poll carried out with 1,001 UK workers found that 31% mentioned that their organisations are not implementing any strategies to help reduce stress.

So what could the reasons be behind employees feeling so stressed?

  • 76% felt stress was not classified as a serious illness.
  • 31% stated their workload was far too heavy for them to take time off, and
  • 20% were worried about the financial implications as a result of being absent.

Our Bank on Your People study of nearly 7,000 bank workers shows that mental wellbeing and engagement are lower for bank workers than for the average worker in the UK – reinforcing the need to recognise and address stress levels in the sector.

So what are the common causes of workplace stress and what effect can they have on you?

Long working hours can lead to poor performance; poor management communications can result in low morale; and work overload or underload can be a direct result of presenteeism.

There are three key actions your employer can take.

  • Firstly, promoting wellbeing for all staff by enforcing a healthy work-life balance and positive working relationships.
  • Secondly, tackling work-related causes of mental health problems by monitoring the wellbeing of staff, checking in with them regularly and creating an open culture to encourage interactive one-to-one discussions.
  • And finally, having the right policies and practices in place can help an employer to support people who may be experiencing workplace stress and need to manage their condition whilst in their role.

BWC are proud to support #NSAD15 which takes place on Wednesday 4 November. This year’s theme is employee wellbeing which aims to raise awareness of the effects of stress in the workplace and what can be done to help manage it better.

Find out how you can spot the common symptoms of stress and how to cope with them in the workplace along with a few simple top tips such as prioritising your workload and enhancing your communication skills.

Little steps can help make a big difference in reducing stress levels and improve your overall wellbeing.

Read about how BWC helped Matt who suffered from severe stress to significantly reduce his anxiety levels.

Find out how our Beating Stress Interactive tool helped him determine how stressed he was within himself and his workplace and provided him with ways to help him successfully overcome and prevent stress.

For more information, read our guides on how to better understand stress; the various techniques for managing stress; and our Beating Stress Interactive tool.