In my first post in this series about work related stress, I wrote that there is no such thing as workplace stress – workplaces are not full of stress – workplaces are full of people who are experiencing some level of stress.

So if you’re a manager or supervisor how do you know who in your team is experiencing stress?

What are the red flags to look out for?


Recognising the signs that one (or more of your staff ) is experiencing stress

Knowing your staff well is the key to spotting a red flag that one of your staff is experiencing stress.

Here are five key red flags to watch out for:

1. A change in a person's normal behaviour. There is a decline in an individual's performance and efficiency; the individual has become withdrawn; exhibits sudden mood swings; has lost their ability to focus; unable to make a decision; begins avoiding work-related tasks; has started making mistakes; has started to work through lunch; is staying late; starts arriving late for work most days. You might also observe an individual's deteriorating relationships with colleagues, irritability, indecisiveness, absenteeism.

2. Displays of emotion. Some people are naturally more emotional than others and will freely display their emotion.  When an employee who typically doesn’t show a wide range of emotion suddenly appears hypersensitive, angry, aggressive or upset, it could be a sign they are experiencing stress.

3. Change in appearance. Often when people are stressed, they start to pay less attention to themselves, and this becomes evident in their general appearance. Again, knowing your staff and how they usually present themselves is important here.

4. Fatigue/low energy. An individual consistently arrives at work looking over tired or displaying low energy. The tiredness may be the result of insomnia and other forms of interrupted sleep caused by anxiety.

5. Frequent use of sick leave/time in lieu. The physical impact of stress can be debilitating. An individual may experience headaches, migraines, stomach upsets, muscle tension. Long-term stress can lower the immune system’s ability to fight an illness. As a result, people suffering from stress may more frequently also suffer from cold and cough symptoms or other infections.

Once you've spotted a red flag that an employee may be experiencing stress, there are a range of actions available to you, to help your staff member to reduce their level of stress, including helping them to cope with the symptoms; providing them with stress management training and changing the environment in which they work. I'll take a closer look at some of the options in next week's post.

What Next?

Helping people to reduce stress and gain control over their stress level is my passion. If you'd like to explore how I can help you or your employees to become calmer, more productive and healthier, let's have a chat. Contact me now on 021 056 8389 or email me at

Wishing you a relaxed, happy, healthy, week at work, home and play.
Go well

Tony helps individuals to harness the power of their mind to achieve success and well-being in life, work and business. Tony's particular area of expertise is in helping people perform under pressure and gain freedom from worry, anxiety and stress. Tony’s solution focused approach to coaching uses a range of techniques drawn from the fields of co-active coaching, hypnosis, positive psychology and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).

Contact Tony today to discuss how he can help you, or if you think Tony could help someone you know, you might like to encourage them to get in touch with him.