Corporate Stress Audits

Business Man and Business WomanPTP offers an extensive range of services to businesses. Nick Adams is a business psychologist, and is a member of the Association of Business Psychologists.

Stress Audits

The HSE and Stress
“Under UK law, employers have a “duty of care” to protect the health, safety and welfare of all employees while at work. They also have to assess the risks arising from hazards at work including work-related stress.” (‘Working together to reduce stress at work’- International Stress Management Association, ACAS and HSE 2004)

StressThe Health and Safety Executive have set out “Management Standards for Work-related Stress” and have the power to fine employers that do not meet these standards. The standards require companies to conduct risk assessments and create action plans to ensure potential hazards are minimized.

The HSE guidelines have come about in response to a body of research, which shows how significant an impact stress has on employees and in turn their employers. For example research commissioned by the HSE demonstrated:

  • “about half a million people in the UK experience work-related stress at a level they believe is making them ill;
  • up to 5 million people in the UK feel "very" or "extremely" stressed by their work; and
  • a total of 12.8 million working days were lost to stress, depression and anxiety in 2004/5.” (HSE, 2005. www.hse.gov.uk/stress)

In order to assist employers in conducting the recommended risk assessments, the HSE identified six aspects of employment that it describes as risk factors. These are:

  • Demands of your jobStress
  • Control over your work
  • Support from managers and colleagues
  • Relationships at work
  • Role in organisation
  • Change and how it’s managed

Further details on how each of these areas can cause stress can be found on the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/standards/step1/index.htm.

The guidelines and information provided on the HSE website aim to assist UK companies in tackling the problems of stress. As an organisation they are keen to help employers identify the benefits to themselves of tackling stress and to work with them in identifying areas of concern and practical steps to correct these. The HSE even believe employers may improve their company’s overall performance by using their management standards to tackle stress.

As work-related stress becomes an ever-increasing issue for employees, the risk of litigation increases for those employers who are not taking steps to tackle it.

Litigation Protection
"In a recent case, £175,000 was awarded to a former manager suffering from reactive depression due to increasingly impossible workloads."

  • "Of the 40.2 million days lost to UK business in 2001 – 2002, a huge 13.4 million were lost to stress, anxiety or depression, with around 563,000 people being affected by stress." HSE
  • "Stress alone costs the economy around £3.7 billion a year, with over half a million people currently suffering levels that make them ill." The Minister for Work

The Methodology
A questionnaire is initially used with employees to help identify whether a person is suffering from stress. It covers the six key areas, (risk areas) as identified by the HSE, as possible causes of stress. This questionnaire goes over and above the HSE guidelines as it investigates other important factors relating to stress that have been uncovered through working closely and successfully treating clients with work and non-work related stress.

The importance of identifying these areas is fundamental if we are to truly understand stress in the work place. We must also understand stress triggers brought into the work place from the external environment.

The other key factors assessed are:
Procrastination, self belief, future prediction, time management, guilt and what other people think about us.

This significantly strengthened audit aids organisations in identifying current and future stress related risks, over and above the basic requirements of HSE. Thereby, ensuring a more productive and healthier working environment, in the context of stress and its wider implications, within the work place.

Output report
A management report will be produced will include the following:

  • A summary of your results both qualitative and quantitative data.
  • Identify at risk groups and how they are affected by stress
  • What are the main stressors are in your organisation and in particular within the at risk groups, including identification of issues and situations causing
  • Recommendations to management regarding strategies to reduce future risk of stress in the work force

Business Psychology
StressOne to one therapy services for staff

  • Personal and professional development packages to enhance performance, for example improving concentration or confidence
  • Consultancy advice

PTP treatments and training packages are designed to be practical and realistic in order to provide conspicuous and long lasting benefits.

Consultancy is available for businesses to gain expert advice and help in dealing with issues specific to them. For more information visit our consultancy page.

All business packages are bespoke. To discover how PTP can work with your company contact us to arrange a business consultation session.

Visit our Courses page for further information on our Stress Management, Effective Communication and Utter Science courses.