STRESS SHOULD BE CONSIDERED IN THE SAME WAY AS ANY OTHER HEALTH AND SAFETY HAZARD
Louise Hosking calls out for employers to encourage open and honest communication
Despite all the recent news and emphasis put upon the dangers of stress in the workplace, the physical symptoms of stress are often dealt with (or ignored!) without addressing the root cause. Louise Hosking, IOSH VP and director of Hosking Associates is pushing for businesses and workplace culture to consider stress in the same way as any other health and safety hazard.
The transformation of work culture in the UK over the last few decades means that organisations today need to identify pressure points and to risk assess in the same way as other OSH hazards. At the root of this is encouraging honest conversation from the top down. This helps businesses understand and address internal issues quickly and thoroughly.
“This will not change without example,” Louise Hosking explains. “Leaders of organisations need to be completely open and receptive to their own internal mood indicators. They need to take a long hard look at their own behaviour, at inclusion, and the manner in which they personally influence culture. Managing well requires full and complete self-reflection.”
She continues: “It is well documented that poor mental health is increasing and it is disappointing that in the UK we are making slow progress towards addressing this in a practical and effective way. We cannot continue to work in an environment which is constantly switched on, distracted, pulled in different directions and unhealthy. We know that when people feel excluded it affects receptors in the brain which have the same effect as physical pain. This makes it an OSH issue. Mental health not only affects physical health, but an individual’s ability to work well – their competency drops, and both the business and the individual suffer. We need to start addressing stress seriously.”
Feelings matter and we cannot ignore them
Click here for more information about Mental Health Awareness Week
If you are looking for training that provides practical advice and tools to help create a healthy and productive workplace, Hosking Associates offer IOSH Managing Occupational Health and Wellbeing