Stress Policy, Training Solutions & Action Plans

Well-designed, organised and managed work helps to maintain and promote individual health and well-being. But where there has been insufficient attention to job design, work organisation and management the benefits and assets associated with ‘good work’ could be lost. One common result is Work related stress.

By the term work related stress is meant the process that arises where work demands of various types and combinations exceed the person’s capacity and capability to cope. Think of this as ‘bad work’. It is a significant cause of illness and disease and is known to be linked with high levels of sickness absence, staff turnover and other indicators of organisational underperformance - including human error.

For some the way to deal with work related stress is to diagnose, treat and rehabilitate people who experience it. For others, it is economically and morally preferable to assess and repair the failed work system or organisation. This action reduces the risk of future failure and the likelihood of future work-related ill-health. This approach focuses attention on the antecedents of work related stress in the design and management of work – but recognises that interventions at the individual level have a part to play.

Recent statistics confirm that work related stress is widespread in the UK working population and is not confined to particular sectors or high risk jobs or industries. That is why a population-wide approach is necessary to tackle it.

In 2005/6 work related stress, depression and anxiety cost Great Britain in excess of £530 million.  The number of workers who had sought professional medical advice for what they believed to be work related stress increased by 110,000 to an estimated 530,000.