Chester 01244 405555

Grosvenor Court
Foregate Street Chester
Cheshire CH1 1HG
DX: 19990 Chester

Shrewsbury 01743 443043

Lakeside House
Oxon Business Park
Shrewsbury SY3 5HJ
DX: 148563 Shrewsbury 14

Airport City, Manchester 0161 537 3324

Office 129
Manchester Business Park
3000 Aviator Way
Manchester M22 5TG

Send us a message
Our Offices

Mental Health and Stress in the Workplace – 3/3

10th October, 2018

In the lead up to World Mental Health Day on 10 October 2018, we have been posting a series of short articles discussing mental health and stress in the workplace.

In this final article, we will be providing tips, to employers and employees, for managing stress and dealing with mental ill health in the workplace.

Click here to view article 1/3.

Click here to view article 2/3.

What can employers do?

Employers can take steps to promote a culture of good mental health and to help minimise the risks of employment related mental ill health (and increased risk of claims).

i. Managing Stress

Employers should consider the impact of workplace stress. Employers may decide to:

• Carry out a stress audit. This could involve asking employees to list any stress related concerns.

• Employers are under a common law duty to take reasonable care for the safety of their employees. Employers should carry out risk assessments of the health and safety risks that employees are exposed to whilst at work, which would include an assessment of work-related stress.

• Implement an anti-stress policy. The policy should highlight that the employer is committed to taking work-related stress seriously. The policy should also set out, for example:

o the role and expectations of managers and supervisors to ensure the successful implementation of the policy;
o guidance on resolving cases of stress at work (for both the employer and the employee); and
o any internal and external sources of support available for employees who may be suffering from stress (e.g. a confidential helpline and/or an occupational health service).

Employers need to ensure that the policy is properly implemented in practice.

Train managers to recognise situations which are likely to cause stress, to identify symptoms of stress, how they should manage stress and promote an appropriate culture etc.

• Conduct return-to-work interviews following a period of sickness absence and performance appraisals. This will help to identify any underlying stress-related work absences or performance issues.

ii. Dealing with Mental Ill Health

A survey produced by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that “less than half of respondents report that their organisation supports employees who experience mental health problems very well or fairly well, while 1 in 5 (20%) say that their organisation supports such employees not very well or not at all. Almost 3 respondents in 10 (28%) don’t know how well their employer supports people who experience mental health problems.”

Employers need to do more to ensure that employees feel supported with their mental health and should encourage open channels of communication.

Acas suggests that employers could develop action plans to help promote positive mental health. The action plan may include:

• The employer’s objectives in relation to mental health and why it is committed to promoting mental health.

• Arranging training to educate employees and managers to help remove any stigma surrounding mental ill health.

• Putting in place support mechanisms for employees experiencing mental ill health. For example, having nominated mental health first aiders in the workplace.

• Drafting a mental health policy and reviewing existing policies to ensure that employees and managers know where they can obtain support.

Managers should be trained to spot the signs of ill mental health, including changes in an employee’s usual behaviour; changes in their standard of work; being withdrawn and showing less enthusiasm/interest in tasks and increased sickness absence. Managers should not make assumptions and they should regularly ask employees about their wellbeing; and create an open and approachable environment.

Employers should identify areas of the workforce which may be a cause of mental ill health. For example, employers should hold return-to-work interviews (as above) to identify the reason(s) for an employee’s absence.

Employers also need to consider whether reasonable adjustments should be provided to employees to support them during periods of mental ill health. Employers should consult with employees prior to making any adjustments to establish what support and/or changes they need. Any adjustments should be documented and regularly reviewed.

Although support mechanisms may be at a cost to the employer, in the long term they may help to reduce sickness levels which will ultimately save costs on sickness pay, increase workplace productivity, and reduce the possibility of costly claims.

What can employees do?

If an employee feels that he/she has is suffering from mental ill health or he/she is suffering from workplace stress, then he/she should raise this with his/her line manager, HR Manager or somebody else within the workplace. This will give the employer a better understanding of the employee’s position which will allow it to make any necessary adjustments to support those experiencing mental ill health or workplace stress.

Our employment law expert, Claire Brook, will be conducting three master classes dealing with mental health in the workplace on 21 November 2018 and 6 February 2019 at our offices in Chester. For further information and to secure your place, please email: [email protected].

For more information on the master classes regarding mental health in the workplace, please see the event listings below:

21 November 2018

6 February 2019

Claire Brook
Claire Brook

Employment Law Partner
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 01244 405575

You might also be interested in...

Employment Law Newsletter – August Issue 2020

4th August, 2020

Welcome to our Employment Law Newsletter.   If you would like to contact a member of the Employment... Read More »

How can you promote a diverse and inclusive work force?

3rd August, 2020

Diversity and inclusion has again come under scrutiny in the recent weeks following the global reach of the... Read More »

Redundancy Pay and Furloughed Workers

30th July, 2020

The UK Government have today announced that workers who are currently furloughed will be eligible to receive a... Read More »

Contact Us
Secured By miniOrange