Preventing stress at your workplace

Here are three things you can do to help prevent that you and your colleagues develop stress because of your job.

It is first and foremost the responsibility of your employer to ensure a healthy working environment where employees do not develop stress. But you can also take measures yourself to prevent stress in your workplace.

Ask for a stress policy

Your workplace should have a stress policy, a set of guidelines that inform employees of how to respond if they notice stress symptoms in themselves or their colleagues. It is essential that your employer’s stress policy commits to taking action, and is not just a set of non-committal declarations of intent.

Both management and employees should be included in the process of developing the stress policy to ensure that you are all working towards a shared goal.

  • When and how should you take action against stress?
  • Who should employees contact if they experience stress symptoms, or have concerns that a colleague is suffering from stress?
  • Who is responsible for efforts to reduce stress in the workplace? Is it, for instance, the individual manager or is it the organisation/top management – or a combination of the two?
  • Does the employer take measures to ensure a healthy work-life balance for the employees, with time for the family and free time?

You will get the best result if you formulate a stress policy that is connected to the general strategy of the employer, and if it is integrated in the law-required workplace assessment.

Are you stressed?

If you are suffering from stress, contact IDA’s legal advisors by creating a case on IDA’s website. Then you will be contacted by an advisor from IDA’s legal department.

Contact IDA’s legal advisors

Keep an eye on your colleagues

The person suffering from stress is often the last one to notice their symptoms, and many attempt to hide them or work through the stress because they see it as a personal failure not to be able to "stand the pace".

But good colleagues pay attention to one another and make an effort to ask how their colleagues are doing. It might feel like you are overstepping their boundaries, but there is nothing wrong with checking in with your colleagues.

Just keep in mind that most people suffering from stress lose perspective and struggle to cope with their situation. That is why you should offer few and simple points. Let your colleague know that stress is a natural response to being overburdened and suggest that they reach out to their physician or trade union, even if he or she says you have no cause for concern.

Establish good work routines

Communication and planning are keywords when it comes to fighting stress at the workplace. It is often more recommendable to work long, well-structured days as opposed to short, chaotic days characterised by undefined frames/lack of structure and lack of prioritisation.

You are naturally partially dependent on your manager and colleagues, but by following these recommendations, you can make an effort to reduce stress yourself:

  • Plan your day and leave time for unexpected tasks. Write down your tasks before you get to work on completing them.
  • Take breaks during the day where you get away from the computer, and talk to your colleagues about things outside work.
  • Talk to your manager about how to prioritise your tasks
  • Try not to focus on the things you did not accomplish, and focus instead on the tasks you did manage to solve in the course of the day and week.

Get IDA’s booklet on stress free of charge

Do you have emerging stress symptoms, or would you like to prevent stress? Get our free booklet on preventing and dealing with stress. It contains concrete tools for understanding, preventing, and dealing with stress in your daily life.

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