managing workplace stress

September 30th 2018

Workplace stress is a tricky thing to manage, and unfortunately it seems to be on the rise for many businesses.workplace stress

There is no legal entitlement for stress leave from work and NZ employment law doesn’t provide an exact definition of stress leave, so it is a bit of a grey area which compounds the challenge of dealing with it.

The lack of legislation means that if an employee feels they need time-off to recover from work-related stress, the leave options are largely up for negotiation between employer and employee, unless the stress is causing illness, in which case sick leave could be taken.

We really need to look at the Health & Safety At Work Act 2015 for guidance on dealing with workplace stress, as this piece of legislation classifies it as a hazard, and therefore provides the framework to guide us.  This means employers have an obligation to monitor, identify and manage workplace stress just as with other hazards.

It also puts some of the onus back on the employees to raise it as an issue, and discuss it with their employer so there is an opportunity to manage the stress.

The most common reasons for workplace stress that we see crop up are:

It’s important employers are aware of these common triggers, and comply with their duty of care to manage the potential of workplace stress as best as possible.

The best control measure is making sure you’ve cultivated an environment of open communication, where employees feel able to raise concerns early so a solution can be found easily.  It might be as easy as temporarily reducing hours, altering duties, or providing additional support or resources

Remember, the name of the game is to have all employees healthy and productive.

Promoting a wellness programme can also be a proactive approach to managing workplace stress – research  has  shown  that  attention  to  exercise,  fitness,  diet  and  nutrition,  sleep  and  fluid  intake  can  very  much  increase  an  individual’s  ability  to  cope  with  normal  pressures.  Encourage employees  to  take  sensible  precautions  to  maintain  their  fitness  for work  and  ability  to  deal  with  everyday stresses.


Category: legislation, workplace stress

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