8.3e Staff stress


Good management processes will prevent stress and the disillusionment process from occurring. Understanding the causes, symptoms and prevention strategies for staff stress enables the manager to act early. Positive staff management practices within an organisation maintain enthusiasm and involvement of staff with the client and the organisation. It is the key to retaining staff.



Symptoms of staff stress

  • Absenteeism and poor time keeping
  • Regular extended breaks
  • High Staff turnover
  • Tiredness, apathy, depression, avoidance of clients and colleagues
  • Extreme cynicism
  • No team work
  • Negativity
  • Loss of professionalism


Causes of staff stress

  • Working in isolation without support
  • Long periods of intensive work with little relief
  • Aspects of work tasks which assault personal dignity, individual differences coping with stress
  • Exposure to pressure when least able to cope
  • Lack of training
  • No crisis intervention or debriefing from Managers
  • Lack of communication, direction and responsibility from Managers
  • No plan or goals to work toward
  • Lack of understanding & acceptance of capabilities & limitations of other



Preventing staff stress

  • Provide relevant training and inservice
  • Remove worker from the stressful situation, encourage staff to leave work at work
  • Provide Crisis Intervention, support and counselling
  • Have clear OH&S policies
  • Expand on the staff members individual skills
  • Approve leave and roster changes
  • Provide opportunities for peer support and working with a more skilled colleague
  • Involve staff in decision making, to contribute ideas and problem solving
  • Hold regular meeting where grievances can be aired constructively and support refocussed
  • Communicate realistic expectations, from the perspective of staff
  • Assume responsibility for and deal with organisational matters that create stress
  • Communicate clear organisational aims and have written policies & procedures
  • Set up a method of evaluation and review related to client goals and aims