By Claire West

first direct (a division of HSBC Bank plc) is working with Stress Management specialists StressCHECK Training to allow their employees to manage their own stress levels online. As the first signs of the recession started to take hold in early 2008, first direct immediately began to look into managing some of the inevitable symptoms of the downturn by promoting Well-being within the organisation.

Michaela Wright, Social Leadership Manager at first direct says “We looked into the reasons that people were absent from work and one of the biggest areas was psychological problems, we knew that we needed to do more.

We already had in place a support service that offers free counselling; however, we had nothing in place that helped our people learn how to manage stress. We accepted that stress was an everyday part of life and we were looking for a prevention that reduced the need for absence by helping our people manage stressful situations.

StressCHECK Training were able to work with us in a number of different ways which were both refreshing and innovative especially with their online offering Beating Stress Interactive™ which is accessed via the Internet, company Intranet or CD ROM. It offers a cost effective, environmentally friendly, informative and fun learning experience which particularly appealed to first direct.”

Wright says “Beating Stress Interactive™ appealed to us on many levels, the environmental impact fitted with our philosophy and it is a very personal and private way for people to assess their stress monitor, anyone of our employees can use it at any time simply by accessing our Intranet.

We would definitely recommend StressCHECK Training to any organisation looking for an interactive and fresh approach to combating stress in the workplace.”

Michael Collier, Managing Director, StressCHECK Training says “first direct have made Beating Stress Interactive to all of their employees via their Intranet and promote the tool during Stress Awareness Month, Mental Health Action Week and will again for National Stress Awareness Day (NSAD), November 3, 2010.

It's a completely different approach to stress as it fits with the busy lives that we all lead and the enjoyment of interacting with online tools.

Most importantly it's working for a proactive organisation such as first direct to reduce absenteeism and maintain a good working environment In the workplace.

In the current economical climate when there is a very real fear of civil unrest and the possibility of going back into recession, many employees and individuals are stressed to the hilt. Organisations cannot afford to ignore stress, it's a real issue that can't be dealt with by a catch all solution. Great Britannia has been diagnosed with chronic stress!”

In support of NSAD this year, StressCHECK Training will be giving away a months free Internet license to the first 100 individuals that email their full name and email address to info@stresschecktraining.com by 5pm on Wednesday 3rd November 2010.

Individuals visit www.how-to-manage-stress-and-anxiety.co.uk and organisations visit http://www.beatingstressinteractive.com for more information.