Stress Awareness Month 2024

Stress Awareness Month: creating a healthier working environment

April is Stress Awareness Month in the UK: an annual campaign designed to shed light on stress and encourage open dialogue about stress management and prevention.

The theme for this year’s Stress Awareness Month – which was founded by the Stress Management Society in 1992 – is #LittleByLittle. The aim being to recognise how small, positive actions can alleviate stress, and impact overall wellbeing.

As part of Stress Awareness Month, employers are encouraged to examine what causes stress in the workplace, and to implement supportive measures for a healthier working environment.

In this blog, we take a closer look at workplace stress and how to minimise its impact. 

Combating stress in the workplace

A study published by the Mental Health Foundation found that 74% of UK adults have at some point been so stressed that they have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.

Work is undoubtedly one of the biggest drivers of stress in the UK, with high pressure environments, excessive workloads, long hours, an imbalance of work and family life, and workplace conflicts all playing a part.

While a modest amount of stress is a normal part of everyday life, chronic stress can lead to significant health and behavioural issues – including the misuse of alcohol and drugs.

This can make stressful situations worse, creating a vicious cycle that impacts employee health, productivity, and overall workplace morale.

Here are some steps you can take as an employer to combat stress in the workplace, minimise the associated risks, and create a healthier and safer working environment for everyone:

Promote open communication

Encourage employees to share their concerns and suggestions. Line managers should also do regular check-ins with team members. An open-door policy can foster a culture of trust and support.

Implement flexible working, where possible

While working from home may not be feasible for everyone in every industry, offering flexible hours and remote working options when appropriate can help employees achieve a better work-life balance.

Provide stress management resources

Offer workshops, training sessions and/or access to online resources that provide techniques for stress management.

Recognise and reward a job well done

Acknowledging employees’ hard work helps them feel valued and supported, creating a more positive and motivating working environment.

Have a robust substance misuse policy in place

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a duty of care for the health, safety, and welfare of their employees.

Having an appropriate policy in place demonstrates your commitment to workplace safety. It also ensures the company’s stance on drug and alcohol misuse at work – and how such situations will be managed – is understood by all colleagues.  

Recognise the signs of drug and alcohol misuse

Being aware of the signs can help with early intervention, enabling you (the employer) to offer the correct support to the affected employee. It can also be helpful to educate colleagues on recognising the signs of substance misuse in coworkers.

Signs of substance misuse to look out for include absenteeism, changes in performance (e.g. a drop in productivity), behavioural changes (e.g. mood swings or irritability), and physical signs such as obvious intoxication.

In all instances, employers should approach the situation with sensitivity and support, offering resources such as access to Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) or counselling services wherever possible.

Drug and alcohol testing for businesses

We work with businesses across the whole of the UK, in a variety of sectors, providing a broad range of drug and alcohol testing services: from random and for cause (post-incident/accident), to pre-employment and return-to-work testing.

Our state-of-the-art, accredited toxicology laboratory can analyse a variety of samples for the presence of drugs, alcohol, and their metabolites, including oral fluid (saliva), breath, urine, hair, and nail clippings.

Plus, with our network of expertly-trained sample collectors and nationwide walk-in centres available, you can trust us to collect your samples quickly and efficiently.

We also offer:

To find out more, call our Workplace team today on 0333 600 1300 or email workplace@alphabiolabs.com to discuss a bespoke solution for your business.

Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing

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