People Management: Three minutes with Mary Holley NSPCC head of learning and development

Did the results of the workplace employee survey by consultancy PPC Worldwide surprise you? The survey showed that stress brought on by people's personal lives costs UK employers £15bn a year and that the problem people find hardest to deal with is miscarriage. Our employees are entitled to paid leave if they are coping with a bereavement, and although to my knowledge nobody has asked for time off because of a miscarriage, I'd like to think it would be granted.

Were there any other surprising results? Shockingly, as many as one in five have felt suicidal. Also, infertility came fourth - like most people, I thought bereavement would top the list. Bringing up teenagers was also considered a major milestone, which I didn't expect.

What steps has the NSPCC taken to help employees cope with stress?

We use PPC's telephone counselling service and find it really useful.

We have got quite a lot of small, isolated teams across the country that work in quite difficult circumstances, so it's important for them to have somebody independent to talk to when they need to.

However, that can't replace one-to-one supervision.

Have you taken any preventive measures to combat stress? We have tried to create a structure in which everyone can feel like they are a member of a team. I'd like to think that there is an environment in which people can talk about their problems. We also conduct a biannual survey, which is anonymous, to find out if there are any areas where we can improve.

Is stress more common among employees than it used to be? We have always been aware that many of our employees are in stressful positions, but I think that life seems to be becoming more holistic and it's increasingly difficult to separate work from your personal life.

If you work hard, you tend to take it home with you, and if you are having problems at home, you bring them into work.

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