Stress can place immense demands on employees' physical and mental health and affect their behaviour, performance and relationships with colleagues. It's a major cause of long-term absence from work, and knowing how to manage the factors that can cause work-related stress is key to managing people effectively. Employers should take a systematic approach to identifying the risks of stress, for example by conducting stress risk assessments.

This factsheet defines stress and draws the distinction between stress and pressure. It offers information on signs of stress and concludes with guidance on how to deal with stress at work, providing information on prevention, early intervention and stress policies.

Explore our viewpoint on employee health and wellbeing in more detail.

This factsheet was last updated by Rachel Suff: Senior Employee Relations Adviser, CIPD

Rachel informs CIPD policy thinking on health and wellbeing as well as employment relations. She has over 25 years’ experience in the employment and HR arena.

Related content

Guides
Terminal illness: Guidance for people professionals

Advice on supporting and managing employees with a terminal diagnosis

Bitesize research
Avoiding burnout when making tough decisions

How can employees build mental resilience to avoid burnout, and what support can employers give?

For Members
Bitesize research
Self-care for leaders to drive health and performance

Good leadership is important for organisational performance and employee outcomes, but what toll does this take on the leader?

For Members

Explore our other factsheets

Factsheets
People analytics

Understand what people analytics is, different types of HR data, and the importance of people analytics strategy and process

Factsheets
Reward: an introduction

Introduces the basics of reward, which includes pay and benefits, and outlines the UK legal position

Factsheets
Pay structures and pay progression

Outlines the purpose of pay structures and progression, including the common ways of structuring pay and determining, reviewing and controlling pay progression

Factsheets
Workforce reporting

Learn about defining, measuring and reporting human capital, and how HR can use human capital information to drive performance

Factsheets