Stress at Work Whitepaper – Stress Policy
A stress policy is a formal written statement explaining what action an employer is taking with regard to stress and mental health problems in the workplace. The aim is to promote mental well-being, prevent stress and mental health problems from occurring if possible, and to state what will be done if there are employees having problems.
Notice that the definition talks about ‘action.’ A stress policy says what you are doing about stress and mental health problems at work. It says what you are doing in order to prevent stress and mental health problems, but also what you are doing to address stress-related problems that become apparent.
Who is this whitepaper for?
This whitepaper will be helpful to you if you are:
- A senior manager or director who needs to find out more about the issues involved in developing a stress policy. You may be the person who will have the authority to sign off the policy once it is complete.
- One of those actively involved in the policy development process. You may have the role of Policy Coordinator or be on a Policy Steering Group.
- An employee or Trade Union representative involved in discussing stress-related issues with management. You may be pushing for the introduction of a stress policy and need information to back up your case.
- Anybody with an interest in preventing and reducing stress at work.
What this whitepaper aims to do
In this whitepaper, we try to explain the ‘what, who, how, where and when’ of stress policy development and implementation. In particular, we aim to explain the process of stress policy development. This is not a trivial task. Some people think you can get a policy ‘off the shelf.’ We recommend strongly you take ownership of the policy development and implementation process. No two organisations are the same. They have different structures, cultures, systems and priorities. So stress policy development is inevitably a DIY job. Yes, external expert advice and support can be highly valuable, especially with regard to risk assessment and training, but at the end of the day it will be your policy, which reflects your organisation. We hope therefore that you will use this whitepaper to help you develop a policy appropriate to your needs. Please don’t follow the advice given slavishly if it isn’t necessary. However it is a good idea to follow the process we outline as that will lead to a better policy and one that is effectively implemented.
- Definition of a Stress Policy
- Title options to consider for a Stress Policy
- Who is this whitepaper for?
- What this whitepaper aims to do
- Definition of Stress
- The risk to employees
- The risk to employers
- The risk of legal action by employees
- Stress-related personal injury cases
- Increased risk of disability discrimination cases
- Possible future risk of prosecution under Health and Safety Law
- HSE guidance on the management of workplace stress
- HSE stress management standards
- Policy implications of legal/HSE developments
- Why introduce a policy on stress?
- How to develop and implement your policy
- Preparation stage checklist
- Benchmarking: Where are you now?
- Benchmarking stage checklist
- Writing the policy and development of structures
- Model stress policy
- Writing and development stage checklist
- Implementation stage checklist
- Evaluation and review
- Evaluation and review stage checklist
- Contact details etc.