1. Managing stress at work
  2. Definition of stress
  3. If you feel at risk of unacceptable stress
  4. Counselling service

Managing stress at work

The Council, as an employer, places a high value on maintaining a healthy workforce and ensuring a safe working environment for all of its employees. The Council also recognises that this duty of care extends to mental health as well as physical health at work.

Mental health problems have many causes, including stresses in the workplace and in the life of employees away from work. A controllable level of pressure can in some cases lead to improved motivation, job satisfaction and performance, but in contrast, excessive pressure can become harmful and result in stress.

The Council is committed to identifying sources of stress in the workplace and taking action to reduce harmful stress and secure the health of the workforce.

Definition of stress

The Health and Safety Executive defines stress at work as follows:

"Stress is the reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed upon them, and arises when an individual believes they are unable to cope".

Every job brings its own pressures and demands, these are an unavoidable part of working life. Some pressure can be a good thing, keeping staff motivated and providing a sense of achievement and job satisfaction. However, people's ability to deal with pressure is not limitless. Excessive workplace pressure can cause stress, which may be harmful.

If you feel at risk of unacceptable stress

Any employee who feels that they are at risk of unacceptable stress should follow the advice given below:

  • It is important not to feel stressed to a point where it becomes intolerable, by taking action early, it is possible to minimise the harmful effects of stress.
  • It is important to speak (or if easier, to write) to your immediate supervisor or manager as soon as possible, they may be unaware of the stress you feel you are under and may be able to make changes, to alleviate the situation.
  • Make an appointment through your Manager with the Occupational Health Nurse/ Adviser or contact the Counselling Service directly.
  • Seek the advice and support of your Union.
  • If the informal approach above does not work for you, then you may wish to take advice about the Council's Grievance Procedure if the cause of your stress is work based.

Counselling service

‚ÄčOccupational Health (OH) provide a self-referral service offering confidential counselling up to 6 sessions per employee. If the employee has been referred to OH the Doctor or Nurse can refer the employee from their clinic. Furthermore, a referral can be made by Human Resources (HR) or a manager if they feel the employee needs urgent counselling.

This is a confidential service provided by an independent company and can only be accessed via Occupational Health - for more details, see Counselling service.

Further information can be found in the Health and Safety Manual 2021 and Mind: How to manage stress.

ONE YOU can provide help and advice on you including stress and its effects, see NHS: Stress and you