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What to include in your workplace stress policy

So, you’re looking at what to include in your managing stress at work policy. We can help with that.

A workplace stress policy can benefit your team and reassure them that you have considered their health and wellbeing. As well as significantly improving employees’ mental health, it’ll bring enormous benefits to your business and its processes. 

Why are workplace stress policies important?

Of course, the most important reason for implementing workplace stress policies is to help reduce employee stress. By putting your staff first and helping protect their well-being, you’ll see a more productive workforce that is happy with their roles and workloads.

They are an excellent tool for outlining how you, as an employer, will help manage stress in the workplace. We all want to build that trust with staff, right? Well, this is a fantastic way to start. Show your team that you can own the responsibility in managing workplace stress by creating a policy that tackles the risks and provides guidance in situations where employees are stressed. 

And that brings us nicely to our next point: guidance. A workplace stress policy supports staff if they are feeling stressed. Clear guidance is sometimes what people need when they begin to feel stressed. With a stress policy, you’ll be able to plan for these situations based on your stress risk assessment and advise them on what to do next with information about how you’ll help. 

How to use HSE’s six management standards in your stress policy

The HSE’s six management standards are always worth considering when creating a workplace stress policy. Take a look at our previous blog (link to cluster topic 4 blog) to see how you can use these standards to create your stress risk assessment. But here are some considerations we recommend when you’re putting together your managing stress at work policy.


What are you currently demanding from your staff? Are they realistic expectations for completing tasks to the highest standard? This is one thing to bear in mind since this is a common cause of stress in the workplace. It’s essential to have processes in place to support employees experiencing stress from heavy workloads, such as wellness action plans. 


It’s always important to offer freedom to staff. Include ways in which employees can have control over their work. This could be a choice of when they take their breaks, discussing work patterns, and encouraging staff to develop new skills if they feel they need them to carry out their work.


Consider how you’ll support staff with resources. You’ll be able to tackle the problem head-on and find ways to help. An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) might be something you could implement to support mental health at work. Whether they’re affected by stress in or out of work, EAPs are a great way to provide external support to those members of staff who need someone to talk to.

The use of appraisals is something else you could include in your managing stress at work policy. Scheduling these regular catch-ups with employees offers them a chance to talk about anything that’s stressing them out. It helps you to catch the issue before it becomes a bigger problem. So you can both chat about what support is needed to reduce stress.


How do you promote positive behaviour at work? This is another thing to think about. Systems must be in place to deal with unacceptable behaviour, whether bullying, harassment, or any form of discrimination. Perhaps outline that conduct of this kind will not be tolerated and include the processes to follow if anyone does experience it.


Clarity is key and can help massively when it comes to helping employees understand their roles and responsibilities. In your workplace stress policy, elaborate on the systems you have in place so staff can raise any uncertainties or conflicts in their role. This way, you can define their role and agree on their responsibilities.


Change can severely impact an employee’s mental wellbeing. It’s up to you to make sure staff are well aware of any changes in the organisation. Include how you’ll provide your team with support and information about any upcoming changes and how this might affect them. Strong communication will help reduce employee stress as they’ll be expecting the changes and will know what it means for them.

What are the legal risks of not having a workplace stress policy

Although a workplace stress policy is not a legal requirement, it can help you if claims for constructive dismissal were ever brought against your business. By not having a workplace stress policy, you could be making yourself susceptible to these claims under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which says “employers have a legal obligation to ensure (so far as is reasonably practicable) the health of employees in the workplace”. 

Not only that, you could also breach statutory duties if you fail to control the risks that have already been identified.