8 Top Tips for employers to manage work related stress

What is work related stress?

The Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) formal definition of work related stress is "the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work".

Stress is a reaction rather than an illness, but if left unmanaged may trigger both emotional and physical health problems such as depression, anxiety, compulsive disorders, fatigue, headaches and high blood pressure. It is reported that the main causes of stress are workload, a lack of managerial support and violence, threats and bulling.

Why is it important for employers to manage stress?

The HSE Report 'Stress and Psychological Disorders in Great Britain 2013' states that stress caused 40% of all work-related illnesses and caused workers to lose 10.4 million working days in 2011/12, with each person being absent from work for 24 days on average; clearly a happier healthier workforce is a more productive one. If stress in the workplace is not effectively managed and addressed by an employer, the employer could be at risk from an employee stress at work claim. Such claims can be costly, time-consuming and cause real reputational damage to a company.

8 top tips for employers to manage stress:

  1. Recognise the importance of the effects of stress, as only then can you appreciate its impact on employees.
  2. Create an open and understanding culture and be approachable, allowing staff to communicate issues they encounter.
  3. Encourage good communication between staff at all levels; team building and social activities will help staff form relationships.
  4. Ensure that any conflict between staff is resolved quickly and effectively through conciliation or mediation.
  5. Be understanding and supportive if staff admit to being under pressure. Reduce their workload and make other necessary alterations.
  6. Have clear procedures in place to monitor signs of work related stress and a support service to encourage staff to discuss issues affecting them.
  7. Manage change effectively; keep staff informed of changes and encourage employee participation.
  8. Regularly review employees' performance, give feedback and encourage open dialogue.

If you are an employer and need some advice on how to manage work related stress or you are facing an employee stress at work claim, our employment solicitors and dispute resolution solicitors would be happy to meet with you, for an initial, no obligation discussion. Feel free to contact us on 0207 632 4300.


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