Hello, AV WELL. Hubbers!
In this blog, I wanted to deep dive into one of my favourite subjects ‘risk’. Does this mean that I like to take risks?? Informed ones yes, but as for, ‘stick a pin in it and hope for the best’ that’s not for me. Working in forensic environments for almost 10 years, programmed me to take risk seriously and I loved predicting and planning how to mitigate them as I could use creative, evidenced-based ways to manage risks in a variety of areas.
I spent a third of my time, working on risk assessments and management in my old role in forensic psychology. While the risks targeted may have been different, those transferrable skills were perfect to support businesses to update their risk assessments and get more creative with them. What I didn’t think I would be doing was completely introducing people tothe idea of stress risk assessment..and here is why.
It is a legal requirement to have a stress risk assessment if you have more that 5 employees.
That’s right!! Squeaky bum time for some people (but don’t worry, that is why I am writing this blog). If you have more than 5 employees, you should have a risk assessment and management plan that looks to mitigate the psychological stressors of the workplace.
Before I delve into the details of stress risk assessment, let’s clarify why it’s so crucial. Stress is a common culprit behind many workplace issues, from burnout to decreased productivity. When checked, it can transform your workplace from a firefighting environment to one that has room to thrive. Stress risk assessments, ensure that you aim to reduce stress levels and create a safer place for everyone.
The HSE’s Six Key Indicators of Stress
To get started on your journey towards a stress-aware workplace, it’s essential to be up to date with the six key indicators of stress as suggested by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). These indicators are like guideposts, leading you towards a more balanced and healthier work environment:
- Demands: Think of this as the delicate balance between workload and the time employees have to tackle it. High demands, when not managed properly, can be a major stress trigger.
- Control: Feeling in control is essential in any workplace. When individuals lack autonomy and influence over your work, it can be disempowering. Empowerment is key to effective stress management.
- Support: Your workplace support system is crucial – co-workers and managers who have everyones back. Lack of support can be disheartening, but a strong support network can make any workplace feel like a safe place.
- Relationships: Healthy relationships can be the cornerstone of workplace satisfaction. When workplace relationships are strained, it can lead to increased stress.
- Role: Knowing your role and responsibilities is as vital as understanding your partner’s needs in a relationship. When job roles are unclear, It’s like trying to navigate a ship without a compass. You’re more likely to get lost and experience stress.
- Change: Change can be exciting. However, too much change, too fast, can feel overwhelming. Embrace change, but make sure it’s gradual and well-managed.
Can stress risk assessment be sexy?
I made the comment about health and safety having the potential to be sexy, at the RED January and decathlon movement in the workplace event, last month. Now, when I say sexy, I mean enjoyable, creative, appealing, and insightful, not Matthew McConaughey in a hard hat. For so long, health and safety has been seen as the boring paperwork side of the workplace, but it is so much more.
Stress risk assessments should be seen as ‘working documents’, they should aim to be specific and consider a variety of departments and roles. They should consider what you already have in place as an organisation and what you are planning to do to reduce risks, with time frames. It is also a measure of improvement, it encourages reflectiveness and it should involve a variety of people in the business.
Now that you know why stress risk assessment is crucial for a thriving workplace, let’s discuss some practical ways to manage stress:
Strategies for Effective Stress Management
- Training and Education: Equip your team with the knowledge and skills to manage stress effectively. Mental Health First Aid training, workshops on time management, communication, and resilience can be game-changers.
- Flexible Working Arrangements: Allow for flexible hours or remote work, this can give employees greater control over their work-life balance.
- Mental Health Support: Promote a stigma-free culture around mental health and provide access to counselling or employee assistance programs.
- Regular Check-Ins: Regularly check in with your team to identify issues and provide timely support.
- Celebrate Success: Recognise and celebrate achievements, big and small, to boost morale and motivation.
- Promote Physical Health: Encourage regular exercise and healthy eating, which have a significant impact on stress levels.
Stress risk assessment and management are essential components of creating a thriving workplace. By focusing on the six key indicators of stress, you can ensure a safe and vibrant work environment where employees can feel empowered.
If you want to find out more about risk assessment or how I can help you to review, support or redevelop your existing documents, get in touch!