New Acas guidance on dealing with stress in the workplace
06/11/2017

Following the publication of its guidance for employers on managing staff who are experiencing mental health issues, Acas has now published new guidance for employers on how to support employees who are suffering from work-related stress.

The guidance highlights five indicators of stress that managers should be aware of. These are:

  • changes in the employee’s behaviour, mood or how they interact with colleagues
  • changes in the standard of their work or focus on tasks
  • appearing tired, anxious or withdrawn and reduced interest in tasks they previously enjoyed
  • changes in appetite and/or an increase in smoking and drinking alcohol
  • an increase in sickness absence and/or turning up late for work.

Where an employee may be experiencing stress at work, Acas recommends that managers:

  • talk privately and sensitively to the employee
  • create a working environment that proactively supports staff who experience stress and promotes positive mental health attitudes in the workplace
  • if the cause of the stress relates to their relationship with their manager or other work colleagues, involve HR or a more senior manager where appropriate
  • consider what temporary or permanent support or changes would rectify a work-related problem, e.g. changes to working arrangements or responsibilities to help ease the pressures affecting the employee
  • monitor the situation and regularly check on how the employee is feeling and whether any changes in place are still needed and/or working as required.

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