We all deal with a certain amount of pressure at work, and that’s okay. But too many working people struggle with unmanageable levels of stress.

Every year, more than 400,000 of us suffer from stress-related illnesses linked to our work. The impacts on our physical and mental health can be severe.

If you’re stressed, there are steps you can take that will help. For example:

  • talking to friends, co-workers or your union rep
  • seeking advice from your GP or a helpline
  • getting regular exercise and eating well

However, if the stress is caused by problems at work (e.g. long hours or an excessive workload) it might not go away until those problems have been fixed.

There’s no specific law dealing with stress at work, but it does fall under your employer’s general responsibility to keep you safe at work. And many employers will have specific policies to deal with stress.

If you’re having trouble with stress, your union will be able to provide advice.

And if there’s a widespread problem with stress in your workplace, consider working together with colleagues to negotiate solutions, through a union if you have one.

When workers act together, employers are more likely to pay attention, and to introduce new policies that protect everyone against stress.

Are you a rep? You can find more practical advice on a range of workplace issues in our support for reps section

Common
questions
What are the warning signs of stress?
Excess pressure at work can affect your mental and physical health in many ways. Warning signs include high blood pressure, indigestion, feelings of anxiety and disturbed sleep.
What are the long-term health effects of stress?
Stress can have serious, long-term impacts on your mental and physical health
What should my employer do about stress at work?
Your employer can carry out a risk assessment and tackle the causes of stress in your workplace
I feel stressed. What can I do about it?
Talking to someone you trust about what you're feeling is a good first step