Recognising work-related stress. Staying alert: tips for employers

Written by: Fit for Work team | Posted in: Blog

recognising work stressFor workers who are absent because of stress there will almost certainly have been quite a long period when they struggled with low mood and were unhappy at work – can you spot the signs?

It can be difficult when you are dealing with your own work pressures, but they will be there, and there are some things you can do to help address them.

Assess the stress

  • There is a stress risk assessment questionnaire on the Fit for Work website ( which identifies the factors that may be causing work-related stress in your company and the actions you can take to reduce them.


  • While an ‘open door’ policy may not always be possible, make it clear that employees can talk to you if they are struggling with their workload, feel under pressure from others or concerned about their performance. And mean it! A chat over a cup of coffee can be very revealing if you listen.

Encourage communication

  • Create a working environment in which employees feel able to openly discuss the things that are worrying them and exchange ideas and solutions without feeling intimidated. It will help to avoid ‘bottling up’ grievances and concerns.

Recognise achievement/value contribution 

  • We all like to be recognised and praised for what we do. It builds our self-esteem and boosts our self-confidence, so do it! Praise achievements and successes, indicating that you recognise and value the contribution employees make.

Telling signs

  • Performance has taken a dip?
  • More random sick days?
  • Consistently late for work?
  • Irritable and restless?
  • Withdrawing from the team dynamic?
  • Low mood?
  • Drinking too much and not eating properly?

Your employee may be suffering from stress and it’s only going to get worse if you don’t take action.

To get your staff back to work sooner with tailored advice and support, you can refer an employee to Fit for Work. Visit and click ‘refer an employee’. Employers in Scotland can visit or phone 0800 019 2211.

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