Wednesday 4 November marks National Stress Awareness Day (NSAD), an annual event organised by International Stress Management Association (ISMAUK) to promote awareness of the impact of stress in the workplace.

Stress has forced one in five workers (19%) to call in sick, and 93% of these people say they have lied to their boss about the real reason for not turning up.

ISMAUK highlights that the industries that reported the highest rates of work-related stress in the last three years were health, social work, education and public administration.

Businesses have a duty of care to ensure the health and safety of their employees, which includes identifying and tackling mental health issues. It is also in the best interests of the business to ensure employees are happy, as these people will often be more productive.

Stressed employees are often more susceptible to burnout, which could mean they suffer a long term illness or eventually quit their job, leading to a loss of talent within a business. According to research, 42% of employees have left a job as a direct result of stress.

Accounting for all elements of the recruitment process, including advertising costs and recruiter fees, through to loss of productivity and training for new recruits, each employee lost as a result of stress could cost up to £30,614 to replace.

One study into UK workplaces found that motivational techniques are the main driver for job satisfaction, and several studies on the relationship between job stress and job satisfaction have concluded that these variables are inversely related. Managers should therefore focus on motivating employees as one way of ensuring employees feel happy at work.

Delving into employee motivation levels, a 2015 nationwide survey conducted by Argos for Business, the leading provider for corporate motivation solutions, revealed that ‘feeling valued’ by their boss is the top motivational factor in helping them achieve more during their nine to five.

Danny Clenaghan, managing director of Argos for Business, said: “Feeling valued is the most important aspect of a job for 43% of workers and this does not have to cost a business huge amounts. Offering a genuine thank you, a duvet day, a low cost gift voucher or allowing your team to leave 30 minutes early on a Friday, can go a long way in ensuring bosses hold onto valuable team members.

“Stress Awareness Day is a fantastic initiative that aims to promote awareness of stress and to aid individuals and organisations in changing behaviours with the aim of preventing excessive stress. Hopefully, UK business will use NSAD as an opportunity to put staff wellbeing at the forefront of business thinking and implement motivational strategies that ensure employees feel valued. We’ll be including tops tips to keeping stress levels to a minimum on our Employee Motivation Day social media channels.”

By Amelia Walker, as published in PA Life on 3rd November 2015

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