Some of you may be wondering why you need a policy about stress. Well, you need a policy about stress for the same reason you need a policy about every other significant impact on your business. A stress policy is an important component in setting out how an organization is going to manage work related stress and minimise the risk stress poses to employee health and well-being. It is a formal written statement explaining the action an employer is taking with regard to managing stress and mental health problems in the workplace.

It should have 4 objectives:

1 – To clearly state how the organisation manages stress.
2 – To prevent work related stress and related mental health problems
3 – To promote mental well-being at work.
4 – To state what will be done to support employees experiencing stress.

It should cover:

1 – Application
It should state why the policy exists and who it applies to (ideally, equally to all staff regardless of position and type of work.

2 – Responsibilities
Consider who is ultimately responsible for implementing the policy. Ideally, the more senior the person’s signature at the bottom of the policy, the more notice employees and other managers will take.

3 – The rules.
This should clearly state the Company’s requirement for managers and their teams to undertake a stress risk assessment on an agreed basis and time scale and how the company expect employees to behave to ensure that their behaviour does not have an unduly stressful effect on others or themselves?

4 – Special circumstances.
There may be situations which can be regarded as exceptional which should be stated here.

5 – Confidentiality
There should be a statement assuring employees that any stress related illness or absence will be treated in strict confidence.

6 – Help and safeguards
Detail the help and support available to employees.

7 – Information
There should be a commitment to providing employees with general information about the effects of stress on health, safety and wellbeing.

8 – Review
There should be a statement committing to a review of the policy on a regular basis – normally 1 – 2 years.

(Taken from The Health at Work Guide to Life)