There are many good reasons for tackling stress in the workplace, and everyone has a part to play, at every level of the organisation:
Benefits to individual, team and organisation
Good practice benefits everyone.
- Lower risks of litigation – because they comply with legal duties
- Improved return on investment in training and development
- Improved customer care and relationships with clients and suppliers
- Reduced costs of sick pay, sickness cover, overtime and recruitment
Benefits for individuals
- People feel more motivated and committed to their work
- Morale is high
- People work harder and perform better – increasing their earning power
- People feel that they are part of a team and the decision-making process, so accept change better
- Relationships – with managers and within teams – are better
- People are happy in their work and don’t want to leave
- Line managers can outwardly show their duty of care
- Line Managers can demonstrate good management skills that could help their promotability and career development.
- Reduced staff turnover and intention to leave, so improving retention
- Better absence management
- Fewer days lost to sickness and absenteeism
- Fewer accidents
- Improved work quality
- Improved organisational image and reputation
- Better staff understanding and tolerance of others experiencing problems
This is a brief summary of some of the law in this area, however, this is a complex and fast moving topic, so you should not rely on this information as a comprehensive statement of the law. Individuals should always seek legal advice relevant to the particular circumstances they are experiencing.
All employers have legal responsibility under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 to ensure the health safety and welfare at work of their employees. This includes minimising the risk of stress-related illness or injury to employees.
At board/management level
Directors/managers/business owners need to consider how they will:
- Monitor factors that might suggest there is a problem with stress-related illness in the business, for example, high rates of absenteeism, staff turnover, poor performance, conflict between staff
- Ensure there is a health and safety policy that addresses the issue of stress in the workplace, including, if appropriate, a stress management strategy
- Ensure effective risk assessments have been carried out, are monitored regularly and any recommendations are being implemented and adequately funded
- Plan for stress-related risks when embarking on significant organisational change.
What are the benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility?
Undertaking CSR activities can help your organisation to:
- Build sales
- Develop the workforce
- Boost innovation and enthusiasm
- Enhance trust
- Attract and retain staff
- Increase reputation
How does CSR relate to stress at work?
CSR takes into account the interests of employees and their health and safety. This includes the effects of work on the development of work related stress. Effective management of health and safety is vital to employee well being.
Employers should ensure that as part of their CSR they consider the health and safety of their employees, including work related stress. This may include, for example, using stress management programmes.
What should you be doing?
We have provided a link to HSE Management standards (above).
Health & Safety Executive guidance reproduced in this section of our website is done so under the terms of an Open Government licence