Colleagues and managers may notice a range of signs from someone suffering from stress.
It can also help you to assess the risks of stress that people in your business may face as part of your health and safety risk assessment.
Carry out a stress audit
A stress audit involves talking informally to staff to find out if they have any concerns. This can be either individually or in groups. Let employees know why you are carrying out the exercise and what you're trying to achieve - ie that you hope to prevent future problems or cure any existing ones.
If you have safety representatives, involve them in your plans and decision-making. Always respect the confidentiality of staff.
A useful exercise is to ask staff to list the three best and worst things about their job and whether any of these put them under excessive pressure.
You can also use questionnaires to gather the same information. Although there's a range of commercially available questionnaires, you may be better off developing your own checklist to fit the particular needs and working conditions of your business.
There are a number of key areas you should consider:
- work scheduling and the type of work
- working relationships with colleagues
- the level of communication and reporting
- the physical working environment
- employees' expectations of their work
Don't forget to monitor your own stress levels. See dealing with your own stress.