Returning to your place of employment after a sustained period working remotely might give some of us cause to worry and instil a sense of trepidation. It’s understandable, as home-working employees return to more familiar workplace surroundings, after re-purposing their home environments during lockdowns.
Admittedly, stress in the workplace is nothing new and has been a cause for concern for a number of years. Triggers of stress can include lack of support, inadequate training, workload and denial of employee rights, or bullying and harassment.
Returning to work if you’re not comfortable with the idea in the aftermath of an unprecedented health pandemic could be the latest addition to an ever-increasing list of workplace stress causes. What’s more, work-related stress is habitually linked to accidents at work and claims for compensation which are pursued as a consequence.
Your Workplace Has a Duty of Care
While many workplaces now have a much greater focus on the health and wellbeing of their staff, more can be done to protect employees against the almost inevitable advent of work-related stress. With many large scale companies now opting for ‘break out areas’ and providing yoga classes, initiatives such as these can’t prepare employees for returning to the workplace following over a year of remote working.
It’s important that we don’t allow ourselves to become too fearful of returning to heavily populated workspaces, despite our justifiable anxieties. So that we remain alert and conscious of our own immediate wellbeing, together with the collective health and safety of our colleagues who we’ll be working alongside once again.
Nobody is immune from workplace stresses, and employees can be subjected to a number of different types through no fault of their own. However, help is never too far away, as our team is here to help 7 days a week.
Can I Claim if I’ve Suffered from Stress in the Workplace?
Workplace stress can appear in many shapes and forms, and suffering from it yourself could, potentially, lead to a loss of focus when it matters most in work situations. The upshot seeing a significant risk posed to those close by. A subsequent double negative effect, in theory.
If you feel you’ve been subjected to a stressful situation in the workplace which could have been avoided if those responsible had addressed the situation, then DIYPI can help you.
Employers have a duty of care when it comes to employee mental health and wellbeing, just as much as physical. They are responsible for considering the impact of stress in the workplace, and if your psychological health has been compromised by a breach in this duty of care, then it’s possible that a work-related stress compensation claim can be pursued.
How To Prove Stress Caused by Employer’s Workplace Has Impacted on Your Mental Health
Stress in the workplace can affect any employee at any time. Irrespective of whether or not they have reservations about returning to work after a global pandemic. Take the official Health & Safety Executive figures for 2019/2020 for example, when an estimated 828,000 UK employees were reported to have been affected by work-related stress, depression or anxiety. Which equated to an approximate 18 million working days lost.
But just how do you go about proving that the stress you’ve suffered has been caused by an employment scenario? And are you concerned that acknowledging this could impinge on your future prospects with the company you work for?
With regards to the latter, then no; it shouldn’t whatsoever. While proving that your stress diagnosis has been caused by employment practices or protocols can be achieved by adhering to the following criteria.
To strengthen the prospects of a stress-based workplace injury claim being successful an employee must prove that:
- They are suffering/have suffered from a clinically recognised psychiatric illness, condition or injury
- Their work remit posed a real risk of causing psychiatric illness and that an employer was aware an employee was exposed to that risk
- Once acknowledging the risk, an employer neglected to take reasonably practicable or adequate measures to minimise the risk of psychiatric harm to the employee
- An employee’s psychiatric injury, condition or illness was caused – or materially contributed to – by work and an employer’s breach of duty. It’s not enough to solely show that occupational stress has caused the harm
Understandably one of the biggest problems you’ll face is determining what constitutes stress in the workplace. Which will be different for everyone looking to pursue a claim, given there’s no clear-cut definitions. Therefore, it’s up to individual employees to outline their workplace-related stress issues with our team here at DIYPI so we can move forward together.
Protecting Your Own Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace.
Practising mindfulness, focusing on your breathing techniques, stretching, meditating, listening to music, taking your work outside and listening to your own body are all key elements to reducing stress levels in your working life, and are always advocated by experts in these matters.
It may be that you need to speak to your employer about incorporating these into your workday, or asking about what they are doing to promote wellbeing in the workplace.
What To Do Next If You Think Your Workplace Has Led to Your Stress
If you believe that you have a strong case or want some further information about proving your employer is liable for causing – or contributing – to your stress at work, then you should speak with DIYPI today.
Your employer should have ensured that all relevant assistance, training and support provisions are in place and readily accessible, so as to avoid stressful situations. Failure to do this or take any action if and when made aware of problems, amounts to a breach of their duty of care.