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Published on June 10th, 2016 | by Editor

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Staffing issues that will affect your business’s success story

Did you know that one in six British workers are dealing with a mental health problem? A worrying number of these problems are caused or exacerbated by the work environment, especially when employers fail to identify them or to take appropriate action. Looking after staff is one of the key ingredients of business success. If you want to do it well, you need to be constantly on the alert for employees who need help, as well as taking preventative measures to help everybody enjoy a more positive work experience. As a rule, the happier your workers, the more productive they will be.

The impact of stress at work

Government research has shown that nearly ten million working days per year are lost in the UK, because of stress. The impact of this on small and medium-sized businesses can be devastating, and for the individuals directly affected, it can lead to serious long-term health problems. Shortening life expectancy by as much as five years, stress increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers. It also affects sleep, memory and energy levels, meaning that even when affected employees manage to drag themselves in to work, they’re not able to contribute much. Catching a problem like this early on and offering short breaks as well as working together on ways to make work less stressful has good results. It can also prevent the need for prolonged absence, and in most cases, better quality work more than makes up for any hours lost.

Common health issues in the workplace

As well as overlooking stress, too many managers also overlook coughs and colds, or pressure workers to come in despite them. This may seem trivial but such ailments can quickly spread around the workplace, damaging everybody’s performance. They’re also bad for morale. It’s another case where being more relaxed about time off can actually make the workplace more productive.

Some employees try to deal with stress at work by drinking far too much alcohol, or abusing drugs. Administering an oral fluid lab test is a quick and easy way to identify any problems and makes it possible for you to step in and arrange proper support where required. Sometimes all that’s really needed is for the employee in question to know that someone is paying attention.

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Bullying at work

Many problems are made worse by bullying at work. Sometimes this is obvious – managers need to be alert to cultures of banter getting out of hand – but on other occasions it can be quite subtle, so employers should be alert to employees who become withdrawn and stop socialising with their colleagues. In some cases, bullying has a sexual element, and this is often kept secret or directly denied, so it’s important to take any such complaints seriously, even if you don’t think the accused person would do something of that nature.

Equality and opportunity

Sadly, bullying based on things such as gender, race or sexuality is still a big issue in many workplaces. Even where it does not exist, employees in minority groups may be afraid to talk openly about their lives because they expect hostility, and this in itself can lead to ill health. Employers who signpost their inclusiveness and stand by it can make a big difference in this area. Lloyds Bank, for instance, has made an effort to be inclusive in its advertising and is the first major UK employer to offer surgery for transgender people in its private healthcare package. Together, these two approaches signal to minority employees that they are valued, encouraging them to contribute to the full.

Making all your employees feel welcome is a great way to ensure their loyalty. You will enjoy being a popular boss and you’ll also enjoy the boost it gives to your business.

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