Managers given help in reducing social workers' stress

By Gem Childe on 17th Jul 2017

Family

Research has already shown that more than half of social workers felt 'over the limit' with the number of cases they had been given in a single day last year.

The study, which had been carried out by Community Care and Unison, emphasised the importance of team managers promoting the positive mental health and wellbeing of staff to help combat the stress.

Trainer and author of the guide Ray Braithwaite has given practical guidance on how team managers can identify strengths and problem areas in their team and organisation, and find strategies for improvement. This can be found in the recently-updated guide for Community Care Inform.

According to the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) 2016 Labour Force Survey, occupations with the highest rates of work-related stress (over a three-year average) belonged to ‘welfare professionals’. This was followed by nurses and teachers.

Workplace bullying is identified as one of the greatest sources of stress employees can endure. However, organisations and managers are often slow to react to cases because bullying is not always accepted as a credible label for the kind of abuse found in the workplace.

Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), the organisation that supports employers and employees to resolve workplace problems, suggests a description of:

"Offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient." (Acas, 2014)

The HSE’s management standards cover the main sources of stress at work. There are six key areas which, if not properly managed, are associated with poor health and well-being, lower productivity and increased sickness absence. These are include relationships at work, demands of the job and whether people understand their role at work.

Organisational culture is a fundamental element in whether work-related stress is reduced or maintained.