People get confused about the difference between pressure and stress.
We all experience pressure regularly – it can motivate us to perform at our best. It is when we experience too much pressure and feel unable to cope that stress can result.
All employers have a 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.
Reducing risk in the workplace can also have a positive effect on your business including:
• Lower risks of litigation – because you are complying 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.
• Fewer accidents and Improved work quality.
Employers should conduct a stress audit (also known as a stress risk assessment) to identify sources of stress and what effect they have on employees.
The measures you put in place to control stress in the workplace will be dependent on your stress risk assessment but could include:
• Setting achievable demands.
• Ensuring people’s skills and abilities are matched to the job.
• Putting a procedure in place so that employees are able raise concerns about their work environment e.g. through an open doors policy, employee forums and appraisals.
• Promoting positive behaviours and a supportive environment.
• A robust bullying and harassment policy.
• Ensure systems are in place to enable and encourage employees to report unacceptable behaviour.
• Adequate welfare facilities including suitable lighting, temperature and noise control.
The HSE fact sheet below demonstrates the true impact of stress, anxiety and depression on the workplace.