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About NUI Galway
About NUI Galway
Since 1845, NUI Galway has been sharing the highest quality teaching and research with Ireland and the world. Find out what makes our University so special – from our distinguished history to the latest news and campus developments.
Colleges & Schools
Colleges & Schools
NUI Galway has earned international recognition as a research-led university with a commitment to top quality teaching across a range of key areas of expertise.
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Managing Stress FAQ: A Guide for Managers
Frequently Asked Questions
Work-related (WRS) or occupational stress refers to the conditions, practices and events at work which may give rise to stress.
WRS is stress caused by or made worse by work.
Work Related Stress can occur when a person perceives the work environment in such a way that his or her reaction involves feelings of an inability to cope. It may be caused by:
- Perceived pressures
- Real pressures
- Anxieties within the working environment
- Departmental change/ change in the organisational structure
- Poor working relationships with colleagues
- Bullying, harassment or discrimination
- Lack of training and development opportunities
- Lack of control in their job
- External pressures from an employees personal life
It is essential that managers have an active role in facilitating and supporting staff to do their job effectively to contribute to the success of the department and NUIG. In order to minimise the risk of work-related stress, managers must:
- Ensure good communication particularly where there are organisational and procedural changes;
- Ensure jobs are designed to avoid conflicting demands and that expectations and the job role are clear
- Ensure staff are fully trained to undertake the demands of their job and are able to contribute to decisions about how the job is done;
- Ensure there are regular opportunities for feedback on performance e.g. regular ‘one to one’ meetings and team meetings
- Identify or respond to issues of concern promptly and seek constructive solutions;
- Make use of the support and training resources available;
- Ensure staff are provided with meaningful training and developmental opportunities;
- Ensure that bullying and harassment and discrimination is not tolerated;
- Be aware of signs of problems and offer additional support to a member of staff who is experiencing stress outside work e.g. bereavement or separation;
- Comply with NUIG employment policies and policies on health, safety and security;
- Seek appropriate advice and support at an early stage if difficulties arise.
Recognition of a problem means that appropriate coping mechanisms can be sought at an early stage, before a negative physical or emotional effect is experienced by an employee.
Indicators of Work Related Stress:
- Poor concentration
- Inconsistent performance
- Uncharacteristic errors
- Inability to deal calmly with everyday situations
- Signs of tiredness or anxious behaviour
- Making complaints
- Lapses in memory
- Reference to time pressure
- Resistance to change
- Lack of holiday planning and taking
- Longer or excessive hours
- Arriving late
- Leaving early
- Extended lunches
- Absenteeism or increased sickness absence
- Passivity or lack of commitment
- Malicious gossip
- Criticism of others
- Bullying, harassment
- Increased drinking of alcohol and/or coffee
- Increased smoking
- ‘Comfort eating’
Workplaces which have good communications, respectful relations and healthy systems of work can help people recognise and manage the type of stress which may have more than one cause; such workplaces tend to get the best results in achieving a healthy and productive workforce.
The following checklist can be used by managers to identify the ‘stressors’ that can exist in the workplace
- Role at work: is it clear and integrated, or do people often have conflicting roles?
- Relationships at work: is there constant strain and disharmony, or even open aggressive behaviour between people at work?
- The hierarchies and leadership at work: are effective and fair management practices in place, supported by positive leadership?
- Control: do people have some control over some aspects of what they do each day, or are they totally controlled, as though they were machines?
- Training: are people properly and adequately trained for the jobs they actually do?
- Demands: do employees have much more work to do than they are capable of doing to the standard, or within the time, expected?
If you feel that there is high levels of stress amongst employees in your department and would like further resources on how to manage stress you can contact NUIG Employee Assistance programme or a member of staff within the Human Resources Department.