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‘Effective’ communication can reduce stress

1 November 2011

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Communication is key when it comes to tackling stress in the workplace, a survey claims.

The International Conflict Management Forum’s (ICMF) distributed online surveys to 1,052 HR and other professional managers and based its analysis on the 263 completed responses received.

A “universal” consensus (87%) was reached among respondents from organisations of all sectors and sizes that communication is “the most relevant factor” in influencing levels of employee stress.

Smaller organisations did, however, place equal emphasis on the role of ‘top’ managers’ examples and cultural impacts in combating employee stress levels.

Despite the recognition of the effect communication levels have on stress in the workplace, only 53% of respondents gave evidence of steps being taken by senior managers that “address the impact of their communications”.

The survey also found a “significantly higher” proportion of public sector organisations consider stress-related sickness to be a matter that warrants attention “to a large extent” when compared with other sectors (73% vs 34%).

Only 8% of organisations indicated stress-related sickness “rarely” or “never” affects them. This view was found to be most prevalent among smaller organisations.

According to the research, larger organisations are likely to carry out more intensive interventions such as referrals to Occupational Health specialists and mediation.

In comparison, smaller organisations place a higher emphasis on ‘softer interventions’ such as encouraging co-operative peer working and team building.

How do you reduce employee stress in your practice? Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

“Mindfulness techniques, taking one minute to count breaths. It really helps stress. Interesting that the CEO of Lloyds is on long-term leave with ‘fatigue’. Stress is still unfortunately seen as a weakness when in my view it is the curse sometimes of the strong! Happy stress awareness day. Nov 2nd today…” – Jackie Kennedy, London