Reducing Stress in the Workplace

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines stress as “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them”. Stress can mean different things to different people, but most people will identify with the feeling of being unable to cope if the “excessive pressures” have become too much. 

We can all experience stress, a certain level of short-term pressure is normal, it can help to keep us motivated and generally we find that we recover quite quickly. The tipping point or resilience levels can vary from person to person however and prolonged periods of stress can produce negative physical and psychological effects and result in ill-health. 

Prolonged or high stress levels at work directly affects employee wellbeing and the quality and provision of services through the ability of employees to attend work or carry out their work efficiently and effectively. 

Looking after our wellbeing can help to reduce the effects of stress, and is crucial in enabling us to take calm and effective action in our day-to-day lives.

Reducing Stress in the Workplace 

Please find below reducing stress in the workplace policy and procedure which provides advice on managing stress related issues and the steps that should be taken in order to effectively manage stress at work.

All employees have a responsibility to take care of their health and wellbeing, recognising where they may not be coping and raising this with their line managers. Likewise line managers have a responsibility for the welfare and wellbeing of their team.

Line managers of employees experiencing stress should consult the policy and procedure in the first instance to ensure that appropriate support is put in place.

Resources to cope with stress

There are a range of measures in place to help manage stress and reduce its effects. See below for information, templates and guidance available to help you.  

Stress Risk Assessment and Action Plan

Having a conversation about stress – guidance

HSE Talking Toolkit

The HSE have designed the following toolkits to be used as a framework to help employees and their line managers to have simple, practical conversations about stress. It contains non-confrontational open questions to start conversations about stress in a supportive manner. 

 HSE Talking Toolkit on preventing work-related stress

 HSE Talking Toolkit on preventing work-related stress in schools 

Wellness Action Plan

Wellness Actions Plans are an easy, practical way of helping you support your own mental health at work. You don’t need to have a mental health problem to feel the benefits. Having a plan just means that you have some practical steps in place to make sure you’re supported when you aren’t feeling great. 

Sharing the plan with your manager helps open a dialogue about how support can be provided. The versions shared here have been created by the mental health charity Mind.  There are three versions available for employees who have remote, workplace or hybrid working arrangements. You can access the plans here. 

Employee Assistance Programme

Receiving support and care from others has a powerful effect on helping us cope with challenges.  Talking through our concerns, thoughts, and feelings with others can also help us find helpful ways of problem solving or dealing with a stressful situation.  

Unum Help@Hand is an independent, external organisation who provide the Employee Assistance Programme.

These services are available as

  1. 24/7 free confidential helpline – telephone: 0808 304 3698
  2. The Help@Hand App – total health and wellbeing support

All you need to do is follow two easy steps to get started.

  • (1) Go to the App Store or Google Play and download the Help@hand app, alternatively scan the QR code below.
  • (2) You will need the secure Argyll and Bute company PIN, when you access the APP, this is available by emailing during normal working hours.

Further sources of support

When many things feel uncertain or out of our control, one of the most effective ways we can manage stress and anxiety is to focus on the actions that are in our control. In addition to the resources below please find further sources of information at the bottom of the page to assist with looking after your own wellbeing and supporting others. 

eLearning Courses

Further courses can also be booked via MyView including: 

Using Outlook Effectively

Do you want to take control of your workload and competing priorities?  If so this is the course for you, it will help you to:

• Gain control of your inbox and email

• Manage your time, tasks and activities

Previous attendees on the course have said “This will totally transform the way I work.  It has the potential to significantly improve team performance”.

This depression and anxiety self-assessment quiz provided by the NHS can help you better understand how you’ve been feeling recently and if you might need to seek further help with managing your mental health and wellbeing.

NHS information and support for your mental health

Mind, the mental health charity – mental health at work

International Stress Management Association website