Bradford Factor

Reducing the Risk of Stress in the Workplace

The HSE published ‘Stress-related and Psychological Disorders in Great Britain’ in 2014. This report, now 10 years old, highlighted that 39% of the total work-related illnesses, were due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety. That is a staggering 11.3 million days during 2013/14. Although this report is now 10 years old it remains valid as it highlights the pressures in the workplace that need to be constantly reviewed to ensure staff remain happy and comfortable within their working environment. Happy Staff are more productive, good managers understand that and do all they can to support their staff.

Patients reported to GPs that the main causes of work-related stress, depression or anxiety are:

Identifying the themes

Factors intrinsic to the job made up around 36% of cases of work related stress. This could include

Hours worked, times worked, skills needed for the job, transport to and from work, salary, additional responsibilities, new role, appropriate breaks, type of work, etc.

Interpersonal relationships accounted for around 23% of cases. This could include peer group, superiors, bullying, harassment, exclusion, etc

Changes at work caused approximately 12% of work-related stress absences. This could include expansion, down-sizing, altering the type of work undertaken, additional responsibilities, new role, etc

Personal development was perceived by patients and GPs to be 8% of work-place stress absences.

Home-work interface was responsible for 6% of work-place stress related absences. This could include duration of shift, time/day of shift, access to family/friends, finances/expenses, etc.

Traumatic Events saw approximately 4% of cases of work-place stress related absences.

What you can do

When considering causes of stress in the workplace, employers can take action to reduce the risk of staff being absent from work. Being proactive can save time and money, though it may take some investment initially – ‘speculate to accumulate’. Some themes are easier to resolve than others and some resolutions span more than one issue.

Let’s look at some basic ‘employee expectations’ and some ‘nice to do’, which may give an employer confidence that his workforce are content:

Work environment:

A working environment can have a positive or negative impact on members of staff. As far as is practicable, an employee is required, by law, to provide a safe and decent environment for all employees.

Job Description

Any employer will expect a job specification that actually reflects what they are being paid to do. An employer should provide one that is SMART:

Fostering Positive Relationships

A workforce is usually the biggest resource available to an employer. It really is wise to promote positive interactions between all staff. This is not always easy, as people are different, with varying political, religious and ethical views. However, there are some actions that could have a desirable effect on encouraging people to ‘get along’

Change management:

This could include expansion, down-sizing, altering the type of work undertaken, additional responsibilities, new role, etc. Managing change effectively can be the difference between the business succeeding or not. Managing staff through the change is paramount if you want to keep them on board. Please see our guide to ‘Change Management’.

Bradford Factor Resources

Additional Bradford Factor Resources

For further information on The Bradford Factor (Use, Implementation and Record Keeping), please review our Bradford Factor guides and management strategy information.