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Workplace stress management a legal issue?

James Gray

Owner/Editor at Busara Ltd
I am a published writer, journalist and photo-journalist. I have an MA in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales and my journalism has been published in a number of UK national newspapers including 'the Observer'. My photo-journalism has been represented by Agence France-Presse.
James Gray

Everyone knows what it feels like to experience stress, with surveys finding that four out of five British adults feel stressed during a typical week. The workplace is a key cause of this stress, with research commissioned by Mind finding that one in three people (34 percent) say that their work life is either very or quite stressful.

Currently, employers have a legal duty to protect employees from stress at work by doing a stress risk assessment and acting on it. If they have fewer than five employees, they do not have to write their risk assessment down (although it is good practice to do so). If they have five or more employees, they are required by law to write the risk assessment down and store it.

Mente say that more businesses must take workplace stress seriously as a psychological hazard that they can take steps to improve. The government, the Health and Safety Executive, and the World Health Organization have all signalled that mental health and wellbeing is a priority that they will focus on, and so Mente advise that businesses should begin taking effective stress management actions quickly.

There are a number of steps that organisations can take to reduce stress levels in their workplace. These include providing managers with stress training, ensuring that the demands put on employees are fair, and allowing employees to switch-off when they are away from work.

Mel Joseph, founder and director of Mente, has said “You can never fully eliminate all stress at work, and a certain level of stress can be motivating and healthy. But the way organisations view stress needs to change from an unmanageable and invisible threat, to a safety hazard that they can take direct actions around to remain compliant.”

Mente help businesses to manage stress and mental health through their digital platform, which houses CPD accredited mental health training, business diagnostic and performance tools, and fast access to further mental health support. To find out more information, visit www.mente.co.uk, or contact them at info@mente.co.uk