by MARY MAGEE
STRESS is the curse of the modern age and is now
one of the most common reasons of absenteeism in work.
A recent survey it suggests that employees
feel unable to discuss or deal with stress in their jobs because
of a climate of possible harassment or bullying, inadequate
stress-busting resources, limited support and with feelings that
their employer does not realise or fully understand the full
extent of the problem.
And as National Stress Awareness Day
approaches on November 7, companies are being encouraged to
tackle the issue of the illness within work.
Companies have a legal obligation under the
Health and Safety At Work Act to ensure the welfare of their
workforce, which includes taking steps to avoid stress related
illnesses as a result of work.
Lisburn woman Beth Gibb of Beth Gibb
Associates runs a training and consultancy company designed to
offer a preventative rather than a curative solution to stress
both in the workplace and outside.
She not only promotes well being and
development but helps companies take steps to bring about a
healthy workforce and business.
Beth said: "Being in a prolonged stressful
environment without respite has severe implications on your
"Each case of stress related ill health leads
to an average of 30.9 working days lost per employee at an
estimated cost of over £330m each year to businesses.
"Stress is not a weakness, it is a sign of
our humanity but has to be acknowledged."
Some of Beth's advice to cope with stress
include finding free time, positive thinking and actions, going
for a walk, drinking less coffee - the amount of caffeine
consumed can be very negative to health.
Beth's company tries to help companies meet
their duty of care by tackling topics such as the HSE Management
Standards and Competencies, Work/Life Balance, Assertivenes,
Dealing with Change, Communication Skills and other personal
development courses. Training sessions are also available for
the general public.
More information is available by emailing Beth on