Stress is one of the commonest causes of sick leave in Sweden today. As an employer, working to reduce and prevent stress in the workplace is an important measure for avoiding future absence due to illness among employees.
Most work involves a certain amount of stress and stress is basically natural and completely harmless. We show a stress reaction when we’re faced with something that we perceive as threatening or when we need extra power and energy. But afterwards, the body needs recovery in order to restore the balance. If the increase in stress is recurring and lasts over a long period of time without recovery, it can lead to various symptoms of stress and there is a considerable risk that an employee may end on on long-term sick leave.
What can I do as an employer?
One common source of stress among employees is excessive demands or excessive workload. This is how you go about overcoming that problem.
- Evaluate the work environment
By evaluating the organisational and social work environment, you get a clear picture of which areas need to be addressed. If you use Wellr, in addition to the work environment survey, you can also carry out what is known as a “pulse test”, which shows employees’ current workload, in order to get a clear picture of the risks in the business.
- Draw up a plan of action
Once you have evaluated the work environment, you can assess the risks and rate them according to their seriousness. When you then write your action plan, it’s important to bear in mind that imbalance and stress often arise out of a combination of multiple risks and load factors.
- Dare to communicate
Workplaces with clear and open communication have the lowest rates of illness. It’s particularly important to dare to communicate about concerns or problems and to allow employees to be involved in the company’s operations and work on change.
- Check whether the measures have worked
It’s important to evaluate whether the changes have led to an improvement in the situation. With Wellr, you can choose to redo one or more of the tests in the work environment survey in order to obtain answers on whether the measures have been sufficient or whether further changes are needed. Update the original plan of action if necessary.
- Show that you prioritise health
Show that you are an organisation that prioritises its employees’ well-being. One way to do this is to train managers to be advocates for health. A manager who takes care of him or herself through regular breaks and exercise, who doesn’t work overtime and who avoids emailing or calling personnel outside of working hours becomes an important example and a so-called “health factor” at work. One specific tip is to time emails so they are sent on Monday morning rather than Friday afternoon. Investing in solutions like Wellr to promote health also gives employees a clear signal that their well-being is a high priority within the organisation.