Can improving personal resilience reduce absence due to stress

Organisational change is reported to be one of the biggest causes of stress for employees. Julie Courtney looks at what employers can do to help employees develop resilience to overcome work-related stress.

There is a wide range of evidence on employee wellbeing that suggests having happier, healthier, more engaged employees makes good business sense. But in the CIPD’s 2014 absence report, one-third of businesses reported an increase in stress among staff over the past year, one of the most common causes of absence and one not being effectively addressed in the workplace.

Chronic stress can lead to cognitive impairment and mental-health disorders, taking its toll on emotions, memory functions and the ability to think clearly. Unfortunately, many treatments for stress are merely coping strategies and they do not necessarily help an individual to build resilience, to overcome difficulties as they happen or to react to challenges with composure. And they do not help when the stress is actually taking place and having its effect on the physical and mental health of employees.

Finding a way to manage stress as it is happening can have multiple benefits to both the employee and the employer, and this is the key to reducing stress-related absences.

Resilience to stress can be nurtured to help people face the manifold challenges of the modern lifestyle – both in an employee’s working life and home life. Personal resilience is an important issue because everyone reacts differently to specific problems, so there should not be a “one size fits all” approach to beating stress.

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