Stress at work

9 posts / 0 new
Last post
Scallywag
Offline
Joined: 24-03-14
Nov 28 2018 16:48
Stress at work

A friend is completely stressed out due to their work (they work in an office) and isn't sleeping. I don't know the story, but it sounds like they are being left with a huge backload of work that needs to be done to a certain time, and it is only them that does this job. Is there anything they could do, or that their union would be able to help with? Bearing in mind that my friend isn't really a leftist and engaging in any kind of organising at work would bring even more stress and they would be terrified of doing so or of even approaching their union for help for fear of being fired.

Fozzie's picture
Fozzie
Offline
Joined: 4-12-03
Nov 28 2018 19:02

Yes they should speak to the union. Stress kills.

If for some reason they can’t speak to the union they need to:

1. keep a diary of what happens when and the effect on their health.

2. Write to their boss and let them know about the crazy workload and the effect this is having on their health. (An informal verbal discussion followed by an email might be good)

3. keep notes of what happens when / who says what.

4. Go to a doctor.

Fozzie's picture
Fozzie
Offline
Joined: 4-12-03
Nov 28 2018 19:04

If they do all that there will then be a paper trail which makes it harder for them to be sacked. (In the UK at least - where is this?)

Scallywag
Offline
Joined: 24-03-14
Nov 28 2018 19:09
Fozzie wrote:
If they do all that there will then be a paper trail which makes it harder for them to be sacked. (In the UK at least - where is this?)

Its in the UK yeah, trying to protect my friends identity though so don't want to disclose anything.

Fozzie's picture
Fozzie
Offline
Joined: 4-12-03
Nov 28 2018 19:12

That’s cool I just only know about UK employment law.

One last thing- is he/she on a permanent or temporary contract (or no contract). And are they still in a probation period?

Scallywag
Offline
Joined: 24-03-14
Nov 28 2018 19:13
Fozzie wrote:
That’s cool I just only know about UK employment law.

One last thing- is he/she on a permanent or temporary contract (or no contract). And are they still in a probation period?

Permanent contract and worked there for several years.

Fozzie's picture
Fozzie
Offline
Joined: 4-12-03
Nov 28 2018 19:17

Excellent. Less risky.

Also the nuclear option is to get signed off sick on sick pay and look for another job or let them have a rethink about treating people like shit.

R Totale's picture
R Totale
Offline
Joined: 15-02-18
Nov 28 2018 19:20

And is there actually a union? That's pretty rare. I suppose the thing about them being the only person who does the job makes things tougher, but is there a team or department that they work as part of where anyone else might be affected? Also, when you say that they're the only person who does the job, is it something that other people would be able to help out with or would they need significant amounts of training? If the latter, that makes things harder in that they can't just ask "hey, can I have some help with this until this backlog's cleared", but it also hugely strengthens their position in that no company is going to fire an essential person if they're the only person who knows how to do their job.

jef costello's picture
jef costello
Offline
Joined: 9-02-06
Nov 28 2018 20:59

If there is a union talk to the rep, if the rep is ok then they can help. Joining a union might be worth it for legal suppport (check that they offer it)

Get everything in writing, as has been said.

A good start is for Your Friend to simply state that there is more work than one person can realistically do, then tell the boss that YF will try to prioritise work as it comes in while waiting for support to clear the backlog.

If management says no help is coming then YF can politely ask if they should redirect non-urgent work to another dept.

If management say it must all be done then repeat that that isn't possible and start to send them informationn on the workload and its management. Depending on how provocative I felt would determine how much "rgret" I showed when over the time that preparing these reports takes, but explain that the urgency of the matter means that I have no choice to do so.

Never write anything that could be construed as a 'threat' to go off sick, but explain that you have been to the doctor and he has diagnosd you with serious stres. At a bigger company you can ask to see an occupational health person. They'll probably not be too helpful, but they probably won't openly be dicks. Obviously this take splace on work time!

As your friend sounds very much against confrontation then try to put it different terms like "the company will suffer if the work is not completed and it is not possible for me to do it all", and of course always use that form when talking to the boss.