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New advice on managing stress at work as 1 in 3 workers feel that their organisation is not effective at handling it

ACAS has launched new advice for employers on managing stress after 33% of British workers believe that their organisation is not effective at managing work-related stress. Acas commissioned YouGov to ask employees in Britain about whether they feel that their organisation is effective at managing work related stress. The poll also found that 34% of employees felt that their workplace was effective at managing stress and 23% neither agreed nor disagreed. An Acas poll in March revealed that:- 3 out of 5 employees (63%) felt stressed due to the rising cost of living.

Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, said:- "The cost of living is 1 of many causes of stress for workers. Our poll reveals that there are employers who are good at managing staff stress but a third of employees feel that their organisation is not good at handling stress at work. It is vitally important for employers to be able to spot and manage the signs of stress as it can lead to staff exhaustion, low morale and reduced productivity if it is not properly managed. Acas has published new advice for employers that includes tips on how to spot the signs of stress, help manage it and create an environment at work where staff can openly talk about it."

Stress can be caused by a variety of factors such as:- demands of the job, relationships at work, poor working conditions or change. Life events outside of work can also cause stress such as a bereavement in the family or financial worries over the cost of living.

Creating a positive work environment can help reduce work stress and can reap huge benefits to an organisation, such as:-

  • Make employees healthier and happier at work.

  • Improve performance and make employees more productive.

  • Reduce absence levels.

  • Reduce workplace disputes.

  • Make the organisation more attractive to job seekers.

Acas advice for employers on managing stress at work includes:-

  • Look out for any signs of stress among staff.

  • Be approachable, available and have an informal chat with staff who are feeling stressed.

  • Respect confidentiality and be sensitive and supportive when talking to staff about work related stress.

  • Communicate any internal and external help available to staff such as financial advice if the cost of living is a cause of stress.

The signs of stress can include:-

  • Poor concentration.

  • Finding it hard to make decisions.

  • Being irritable or short tempered.

  • Tearfulness.

  • Tiredness.

  • Low mood.

  • Avoiding social events.

For the full Acas advice, please see:- ACAS.Org.UK.

Government failures have created cost of living:- "Rural Premium" MPs find

GOVERNMENT neglect of the rural economy has created a cost of living:- 'Rural Premium' according to a new report by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Rural Business and the Rural Powerhouse.

Evidence from more than 25 industry bodies, charities, campaign groups, companies, academics, and businesses reveal rural communities spend:- 10% to 20% more on everyday items like fuel, despite wages being 7.5% lower than their urban counterparts. Access the full report by visiting:- CLA.Org.UK.

Inadequate power infrastructure in rural communities leaves 76% of countryside houses off the energy grid, which until recently, left them at the mercy of uncapped fuel prices with little government support.

Energy bills are also threatening the social fabric of rural communities, with 14% of village halls facing closure due to heating costs alone in the next 6 months. Evidence found that village hubs have helped keep people warm during the cost of living crisis, and provided easy access to vulnerable people.

The Government's failure to increase affordable housing and reform planning laws has rendered rural communities more vulnerable to rising housing costs. The Citizens Advice Rural Issues Group saw requests for help with housing costs double, whilst urban figures remained unchanged.

Poor connectivity has also hindered rural businesses from rebounding during the crisis. In the face of decreased footfall, and with only 46% of businesses receiving serviceable 4G coverage, the report highlights how rural businesses have been unable to access new customers or support groups online.

The report outlines a series of recommendations to slash the Rural Premium, including an economic blueprint to support countryside businesses, an ambitious housing plan to boost the supply of affordable housing, funding for warm community centres to prevent closures of village halls, and an extension of the Rural Fuel Duty Relief scheme.

Co-chair of the inquiry, York Outer MP Julian Sturdy said:- "This report shows without question that those living and working in rural areas have been left at a serious disadvantage. This advantage worsens still in difficult economic circumstances. Government needs to now show it is ambitious for the rural economy, and work across departments to develop a serious set of policies that will grow the economy, create good jobs and stronger communities in all parts of the country."

Co-chair of the inquiry, crossbench peer Lord Cameron of Dillington, said:- "Let this report act as a wake up call. By ignoring the potential of the rural economy, successive Governments have left our communities vulnerable to the extremes of global economic shocks. As we approach a general election, all parties should get their heads down and develop policies that will give the rural economy and its communities what they need to succeed; so that we can take advantage of the talents of rural people, as well as defend them from financial crises."

Mark Tufnell, President of the Country Land and Business Association, commented:- "The depth of hardship we've seen across the countryside could have been mitigated. Successive governments have turned a blind eye to the vulnerability of the rural economy; while outdated policies have damaged the financial resilience of individuals, families and businesses. We desperately need a robust and ambitious plan for the rural economy; not only to protect these communities from economic shocks, but to unlock their enormous potential. Unless we stop treating the countryside like an afterthought, people will continue to suffer, and so will our economy. This report builds on the work of last year's APPG inquiry into rural productivity which found connectivity issues, unaffordable housing, and a lack of ministerial direction contributed to a 19% productivity gap between the rural economy and national average; a gap which if closed could add £43bn to the UK economy."

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