The Health and Safety Executive define stress as "the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them". Recent research shows that this 'adverse reaction' can seriously undermine the quality of people's working lives and, in turn, the effectiveness of the workplace.
Stress takes many forms. As well as leading to anxiety and depression it can have a significant impact on an employee's physical health. Research links stress to heart disease, back pain, headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances and alcohol and drug dependency.
Organizations and individuals need to reduce excessive stress at work – as well as preventing it happening in the first place. This means doing something about the main underlying causes of stress – like poor communication and lack of training – and coping with the symptoms of stress – like anxiety and ill health.
Workplace Stress Management Toolkit
The Health and Safety Executive (N.I.) in conjunction with the Local Government Staff Commission has recently completed the review of the Workplace Stress Management Toolkit which included contributions from the Labour Relations Agency.
It is the most comprehensive single advisory source on the needs, imperatives and approaches best suited to manage the increasing problems posed by workplace stress.
The toolkit can be accessed by clicking on the following link and then entering the word “stress” into the “keywords” field.
The Agency’s Enquiry Point is available to employers, employees, trade unions and others. Enquiry Point advisors provide information and advice on a wide range of employment matters. The Enquiry Point is also an important contact point for identifying circumstances, or clients, who would benefit from being referred to other Agency services.
The Enquiry Point provides clear, confidential, independent and impartial advice to assist the caller in resolving issues in the workplace.
While the advisors cannot provide a legal opinion they can help callers gain a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities as well as identifying possible options to help resolve their issues.