How To Tell You Have A Stressed Employee

Stressed employee

In an article we posted a few months ago, we discussed how important mental health is in the workplace. The main problem with mental health is that it is, understandably, invisible and so hard to detect.

So how can managers, or even fellow colleagues, figure out if an employee, or colleague, is stressed to the point it is affecting their work? In our previous article we mentioned how it is increasing unlikely that people would inform their managers of any stress or mental health issues they are having due to the worry that they suffer an impact on their work.

We’ve put together some tips that may signal that there is something adversely affecting your employee or colleague and causing them to be stressed. Please note that this is not an all-encompassing guide, there will be signs that are not listed here.

Signs There Is Something Wrong

  • More absences than usual – if an employee is usually the most reliable person on the team but then suddenly begins to take a lot of absences, there may be something happening behind the scenes that is affecting their ability to attend work.
  • A change in behaviour – behaviour can be a key indicator as to whether or not something is wrong. If an employee is suddenly acting rather irritable and getting angry over small things, or even if a normally happy and bubbly person is quiet and withdrawn, then it should be a warning that there is something wrong.
  • Lack of motivation – a decrease in work output when an employee is normally operating at higher levels can equally be an indication of some underlying issue

What To Do If You See Signs Of A Stressed Employee

The most important thing is that you should try and find out the cause as soon as possible to see if there is anything you can do to assist your employee or colleague. Try not to let other people know, if they have not told you then it is highly likely they do not want others knowing.

Be understanding and helpful, making sure that they know that you will not punish them for whatever is wrong and that you care about their health above all. See if there are any small ways you can adjust their workload that may help their mental health and keep a clear line of communication open.

It may be that you end up being the only person aware of what is wrong, but that may be a lifeline to your employee or colleague. As a manager, always make sure to ask if there is anything you can do to help them and make them aware of any help they may be able to get from HR or even advise them to seek professional help if necessary.

It is crucial to be as understanding as possible, mental health is just as important as physical health and should not be treated as less.

We’ve included some helpful links on what managers can do to help their employees below.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/furtheradvice/whatshoulddoing.htm

https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/staff/policy/hr/managersguidetomonitoringstress/

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Sarah Jubb
Sarah Jubb

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