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Blog  »  May 2017  »  Stress is the main cause of long-term sick leave - Blog
May 17

Posted by
Lauren Conway

Stress is the main cause of long-term sick leave

Stress is the cause of 53% of UK employees on long-term sick, making it the number one reason for employees to be out of work on long-term sick leave. This can be a massive concern for employers as stressed out employees are less focused and motivated which will lead to a big drop in morale and productivity which in turn will lead to employees on long-term sick leave and possibly an increase in staff turnover.

How can I tell if my employees are stressed?

When people are stressed, they can become irritable, tired and suffer from low self-esteem. It is important for employers to be aware of the tell-tale signs if someone is stressed. Things to look out for in employees are:

• Turning up to work late, not meeting deadlines or taking more time off than usual.

• Failing to cope with the volume of work, making mistakes and having poor concentration.

• Deteriorating work relationships and not participating in conversation or staff events.

• Becoming moody, over reacting to something or losing their temper easily.

• Frequently tired and run down, rapid weight loss or gain, looking tired and unkempt.

What can I do to combat stress in the workplace?

The longer stress is left undetected and without positive change the worse it will get. Employees who are stressed need the support of their employer; however, it can be a sensitive subject to broach. If you suspect someone is feeling stressed you can try:

• In private, ask the employee if everything is ok and if they would like to talk to someone. Remind them of the support the company can offer them.

• Making sure all staff take their full holiday quota, take proper lunch breaks and if it is possible to allow employees to work from home when needed.

• When an employee goes on holiday, make sure other staff are available to cover their work so they can relax and not worry about work when they are off.

• Keep an eye on working relationships - try to spot any potentially unreasonable demands placed on an employee or any bullying/harassment that may be going on.

• Be respectful to all employees and remember to say thank you for a job well done.

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