Stress and its impact on the workplace

Holding hands

Stress is believed to account for over 30 per cent of sickness absence in the NHS, costing the service £300-400 million per year. The latest NHS annual survey found that over 38 per cent (36 per cent in 2016) of NHS staff reported that they had suffered from work-related stress. 

The Health and Safety Executive defines stress as an adverse reaction that people have to excessive pressures or other types of demands placed on them. Stress can happen in different ways in different NHS organisations but there are common factors that can lead to stress and poor health.

Some NHS staff have to deal with violent and unpredictable patients, others deal with traumatic and harrowing circumstances, others have a lack of support or are not receiving enough communication about changes affecting them. The most important fact is the impact on the individual and how they feel able to manage those feelings.

We have developed tools and collated information to help combat stress, common sickness absence and mental health problems and make positive improvements to emotional wellbeing in the workplace.

Everything you need to know
about sickness absence toolkit
Toolkit  Our online resource aims to support and give NHS managers confidence, so that they can in turn support their staff and manage sickness absence well. 
Stress in the workplace Webinar Have a listen to our webinar, focusing on stress in the workplace.
Guidance on prevention and management of stress at work
Guidance This guidance was produced by the NHS Staff Council’s Health, Safety and Wellbeing Partnership Group and aims to help managers throughout the NHS to reduce stress in the workplace and better support staff who experience it.  
Talking toolkit Toolkit The Health, Safety and Wellbeing Partnership Group (HSWPG) have produced six conversation templates to support managers and employees to talk about issues that may be causing work-related stress or which could have potential to become future causes if not managed properly.
Emotional wellbeing toolkit Toolkit This resource can help staff to check their own wellbeing or speak to and support colleagues with their emotional wellbeing. It also provides resources and signposting, no matter how you are feeling.
Stress: are we coping? Report This report from the Mental Health Foundation explains what stress is and how stress can affect us physically and psychologically.  It describes how long-term health conditions, work, money, technology and social media can cause us to feel stressed.  It includes top ten actions that an individual can do to help reduce and manage their stress. 
Thriving at work – The Stevenson/Farmer review of mental health of employers Report This extensive report includes recommendations employers can adopt regardless of their workplace type or size.
Prevention is better than the cure Case study Read how Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust put staff health and wellbeing at the centre of its strategy to reduce sickness absence and presenteeism.

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