On average UK workers do 40 days’ unpaid overtime a year, long hours and a heavy workload can cause stress. In 2010/11 about 400,000 people in the UK reported work-related stress at a level they believed was making them ill.
The way you deal with stress can encourage unhealthy behaviour, such as smoking and drinking too much, which can increase your risk of heart disease. Good stress management in the workplace is therefore critical to your overall health.
Speak out – If you’re extremely busy and your boss asks you to do more, you can say no. Outline your reasons in a specific, measurable way, but always offer a solution.
Learn to recognise the physical effects of stress and do something about it before it makes you really ill. Beware of work stress spilling over into other areas of your life.
Whatever the source of your stress, speak to your manager or someone in your organisation that you feel comfortable talking to. Or get outside help.
Employers have a duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees. This comes under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. They’re also required to conduct risk assessments for work-related stress.
If the problem is not work-related, they may be able to support you in some way or help to take some pressure off you at work while you resolve the stress in your personal life.
If you feel unsupported at work turn to your GP. Doctors aren’t experts in employment law, but they can help you analyse the situation and refer you to more specialised help if necessary.
Don’t put up with stress – ACT ON IT!