Stress management policy

1.0 Policy statement

1.1 Wycombe District council is committed to providing a healthy and safe working environment for all its employees. We recognise that this extends to mental health as well as physical health at work, and we aim to provide a supportive working environment which promotes the health and well being of all employees. We will achieve this by working together with staff to minimise stress in the workplace and through working with individuals affected by stress – whether related to work or personal circumstances.

1.2 Stress management is not a standalone activity; it is integral to the values and management of the council and to how we manage ourselves as individuals. The appendices provide further information and guidance which relates to and supports the successful application of the stress management policy.

2.0 Stress and pressure

2.1 Pressure occurs in most jobs; tasks and challenges at work can provide a sense of achievement and job satisfaction. However, it is when individuals feel they cannot cope that signs of stress may occur. The HSE defines stress as ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demands placed on them’. This makes an important distinction between pressure, which can be positive and stress which can be detrimental to health.

2.2 The council recognises that there are occasions when pressures at work and/or home can affect people’s behaviour and their ability to cope and that people vary in their capacity to manage different types of pressure. Stress can affect the health and performance of an individual as well as impacting on colleagues and the organisation.

3.0 Aims of the policy

  • To identify workplace stressors and conduct risk assessments to eliminate or control the risks from stress.
  • To continue to develop procedures and working practices to reduce the factors which may lead to stress in the workplace and provide training to managers in good management practices.
  • To provide support to individuals who are affected by stress caused by work and/or external factors.
  • To raise awareness of individual’s roles and responsibilities in relation to stress management.

4.0 Roles and responsibilities

  • Managers

  • Bring the corporate general health and safety policy to the attention of new staff and remind existing staff about the policy.
  • Undertake individual and team risk assessments where appropriate and ensure the recommendations and outcomes of these assessments include control measures which are formally implemented.
  • Work closely with HR to support individuals who have been absent with stress and agree a return to work plan. 

Employees

  • Bring to the attention of their line manager, at the earliest opportunity, any concerns about work related stress.
  • Undertake any training available to help understand stress and how to deal with it.
  • Bring to the attention of the line manager and colleagues situations that might represent a risk of work related stress arising. 

Human Resources

  • Ensure the provision of effective advice, support, counselling and training to enhance employee well being.
  • Provide guidance to managers on the stress policy and related policies and procedures.
  • Assist in monitoring the effectiveness of measures to address stress.
  • Signpost appropriate training to managers and employees on stress management. 

Occupational Health

  • Work closely with managers and HR Operations to support individuals who have been absent with stress and advise on a planned return to work and/or appropriate adjustments.
  • Provide specialist advice as necessary.
  • Provide advice on life style issues to individuals to mitigate the adverse impact of stress.
  • Refer to specialist agencies as required.
  • Assist in identifying sources of stressors. 

Health and safety officer

  • Provide specialist advice on stress as necessary.
  • Train and support managers in implementing stress risk assessments.
  • Inform the Strategic Health and Safety Group of any changes and developments in the field of stress at work.
  • In partnership with HR monitor and review the effectiveness of measures to reduce stress. 

Role of the Strategic Health and Safety Group

The Strategic Health and Safety Group will perform a pivotal role in ensuring that this policy is implemented and reviewed. It will oversee the monitoring and efficacy of the policy and other measures to reduce stress and promote workplace health and safety.

The information and guidance appended to this policy will change taking account of best practice, legislative change and HSE guidance.

For further information contact HR.