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In a recent stress study, one in five employees  said that they found their work either very stressful or extremely stressful – what steps can you take to tackle stress and make a difference in your organisation?


Stress is the adverse physiological reaction people have to excessive pressures or demands placed on them.


Stress is costly, especially for small firms where cover for sick employees is difficult to arrange. It can reduce the effectiveness of your employees and lead to higher rates of absence. Research indicates that 12.5 million working days were lost to stress, depression and anxiety in 2016/17. Work-related stress costs around £6.5 billion and an average of £618 per sick day (2012 figures). Each new case of stress leads to an average of 29 days off work.


  • As an employer you should ensure policies are in place to prevent bullying and issues around discipline.
  • Good management and organisation of workload for each employee should be regularly assessed.
  • Make sure your employees are taking regular breaks away from their desks or immediate working environment. Encourage fresh air and exercise at lunchtime.
  • An employee suffering from stress caused by problems outside work can be helped with support and understanding from you.


If one of your employees suffers from stress related ill-health and has recourse to a tribunal and the court decides that you should have been able to prevent it, then you could be found to be negligent with no statutory limit to the compensation your employee could claim from you.

Sarah Seastron FCIPD