In a move aimed at combating the growing problem of work-related stress, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched a groundbreaking online learning tool as part of its “Working Minds” campaign.
This free-to-use resource is designed to provide businesses with the guidance they need to prevent and address work-related stress while ensuring compliance with the law.
The HSE’s new online tool comprises six interactive modules, offering practical insights and solutions to help employers understand how to recognise, manage, and mitigate workplace stress effectively. It addresses common scenarios that businesses encounter, such as identifying signs of stress in individuals and teams, dealing with regular lateness to work, withdrawn employees, and higher staff turnover.
Liz Goodwill, head of work-related stress policy at HSE, highlighted the urgency of the tool’s release, stating, “More than half of small and medium-sized (SME) businesses recently visited by HSE knew they had a legal duty to assess the risk of work-related stress, but the number who actually did this was significantly lower. This new online tool will help employers understand the steps and actions necessary to help bridge this gap. It is a much-needed solution.”
She further emphasised that time, financial constraints, and lack of expertise often hinder businesses from effectively addressing work-related stress. This new resource aims to simplify the learning process, making it more accessible for companies of all sizes. Goodwill stated, “Businesses will come away with an understanding of what the law requires of employers and what actions they need to take. It provides an opportunity for employers to refresh their existing knowledge and help drive the culture change that the Working Minds campaign is aiming to achieve. I encourage them to give it a go.”
The online tool was officially launched during HSE’s online Health and Work conference on Wednesday, November 8th, and is accessible via the HSE Workplace Stress website.
Work-related stress has become an increasingly costly issue for employers in the UK. Since 2019, the total annual cost of poor mental health has surged by 25%, reaching up to £56 billion a year. More than half of working days are lost due to work-related stress, depression, or anxiety, making them the leading causes of work-related illness in the UK, with numbers continuing to rise.
Goodwill pointed out, “The Mental health and employers report from Deloitte suggests employers see a return of £5.30 on average for every £1 invested in staff wellbeing. By providing this free learning, our aim is to help lower the investment cost and assist employers in reaping the potential benefits, including increased productivity, lower absenteeism, and reduced staff turnover.”
The Working Minds campaign encourages employers to adopt five straightforward steps based on risk assessment: Reach out and have conversations, Recognise the signs and causes of stress, Respond to any risks identified, Reflect on actions taken, and make it Routine. These steps aim to create a culture where discussions about stress and employees’ well-being become the norm in the workplace.
In light of the growing impact of work-related stress on businesses and individuals, the HSE’s new online learning tool offers a much-needed resource to help organisations tackle this issue head-on, protect their employees’ mental health, and ensure legal compliance.