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A Therapeutic Approach to Stress and Burnout at Work

by James Brack
(United Kingdom)

Being dissatisfied in your job is something which many people experience, but is also something that can cause huge stress and pressure. There are certain factors which contribute to this and these tend to be a recurring theme within the workplace. These include:

- Relationships at work
- Issues with management
- Conflicting and confusing demands within the employees role
- Concerns about job security
- Lack of development within their career
- Organisation structure and climate
- Communication
- Work pressure / overload, working long hours

Recent research and findings about these factors show how important it is that companies are aware when these pressures exceed an employee’s ability to cope with the job, and before they manifest themselves in stress-related symptoms.

In cases where many of these contributing factors are prevalent, employees have shown to be most affected, demonstrating the highest number of stress-related symptoms. In these cases the staff’s mental wellbeing has been hugely reduced, leading to clear signs of distress.

Here are some indicators of stress and significant signs to be aware of in an employee:

• Recurring absenteeism
• Regular headaches
• Tiredness / exhaustion
• Aggressive outbursts - losing temper easily
• Falling standards
• Increased consumption of alcohol
• Increased smoking
• Resentful of changes
• Bouts of moodiness
• Frequent lateness
• Struggling to cope with interruptions e.g. colleagues, phone calls, etc.
• Isolating themselves from the rest of the team
• Taking extended lunch-breaks
• Proneness to accidents
• Altered working relationships

The effects of stress can, at their most damaging, lead to complete burnout; which can result in withdrawal, physically, psychologically and emotionally.
Below are some primary factors which can lead to Burnout:

• High job demands and increased workload
• Lack of identification about specific role
• Monotonous and un-stimulating work
• Lack of autonomy
• Lack of employee support
• No significant link between the tasks performed and accountability
• Not given the opportunity to make independent decisions
• Unable to make a significant contribution
• Lack of communication within the team
• Lack of personal development opportunities
• Income not reflecting a employee’s contribution to the team

Understanding the contributing factors of burnout at work and knowing how to avoid them is a key part of the process. Talking with your employees one to one will help to identify any potential sources of stress within the workplace, you can also learn how individuals are coping with the current demands, and identify any influences of stress so that they can targeted early, and measures put in place to help relieve stress, e.g. increase staff support, stress management workshops, etc.

Absenteeism and stress-related burnout is causing a huge cost to the economy, and it is essential that employers find new ways to tackle contributing factors and reduce stress.

According to The CIPD Absence management survey, “Half of public sector employers say they have seen an increase in stress-related absence in the past year (compared with one-third of organisations overall). However, just 58% of organisations say they are taking steps to identify and manage stress at work, which indicates that there is a lot more that needs to be done.”

The Wellbeing Team Ltd,are a leading body of highly experienced and professional Therapists and Practitioners, providing treatment and suitable rehabilitation programmes, which aid in achieving specific work retention and return to work outcomes. Our commitment is to your wellbeing at work.

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