Staff and Manager Responsibilities

Staff Responsibilities

Manager Responsibilities

Using Preventative Measures

Staff are encouraged to investigate health and wellbeing opportunities which the university offers in order to meet their goals, look after their physical and mental health.

Occasionally situations from within or outside the workplace can lead to an imbalance. The university provides a number of supportive interventions which can be accessed independently. External sources of help are also listed in the support pages.

Staff should refrain from inappropriate behaviour that may cause excessive stress to themselves and others and take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing, which could include proactively planning workloads or using annual leave to take appropriate rest.

If a member of staff believes they could be suffering from a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety, they should visit their GP as soon as possible.

There are a number of steps that a line manager can put in place and resources that can be used to alleviate pressures and promote a healthy workplace. These preventative measures will have a greater impact the earlier they are implemented:

  • Encourage staff to access health and wellbeing opportunities;
  • Empower staff to control their own workload;
    - Regular one-to-ones and team meetings provide an opportunity for staff to share information which can help gauge perception of their workload and how they are managing peaks in their workload:
  • Ensure staff feel adequately trained and supported to do their jobs well;
    - The annual Staff Review and Development Scheme can also help identify where there are development needs;
  • Ensure that staff are being fully utilised as a lack of work can lead to feelings of insecurity;
  • Consider the annual business activity cycle and ensure that resources are available during busy periods;
  • Consider whether it is appropriate to provide additional support for staff during periods of change and uncertainty;
    - Line Managers may take action to alleviate pressures should they find that a member of staff is suffering from excessive stress, in order to prevent potential sickness absence.
  • Encourage staff to use of annual leave and consider restricting annual leave to ensure adequate resource during busy periods;
  • Consider supporting the use flexible working to improve work-life balance;
    - For example, managers can offer short term solutions, where reasonably practicable, such as allowing more flexible working arrangements subject to individual circumstances and business needs for a set period of time.
  • Signpost staff to internal and external support available.

Identifying Signs of Stress

It is important for a member of staff to notify their line manager if they feel they may be excessively stressed, regardless as to whether that stress has been caused from situations at work or home. If a staff member does not initiate this conversation with their line manager, it can be difficult for the university to respond and offer reasonable assistance in alleviating the stress situation.

Staff have a responsibility to assist with the identification of excessively stressful situations and to recognise and identify harmful levels of pressure in themselves and in colleagues. Guidance developed by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), shows a table of common indicators of stress.

The university believes that to achieve its goals it needs motivated, talented, happy and healthy staff. The line manager role is pivotal in identifying and managing excessive pressures at work. Managers have knowledge of their team and the usual working styles of staff. This knowledge can allow managers to identify uncharacteristic behaviour that could be an early warning sign of a potential issue.

Changes in behaviour or work performance can often be signs that an individual may be suffering from stress. Guidance developed by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), shows a table of common indicators of stress.

Utilising Stress Risk Assessments

Staff are required to contribute to the stress risk assessment to identify and eradicate potential stressors within the workplace where possible.

In addition to following the sickness management guidelines set out in the Sickness Absence Management Policy and Procedure, managers may find it beneficial to complete a Stress Risk Assessment should they feel that the member of staff is suffering from excessive stress. Where necessary, this may be supported by a referral to Occupational Health Services where further advice is required with regard to the health aspects.

The Stress Risk Assessment must be completed if the manager is presented with a Fit Note identifying work-related stress.

Where actions are identified as a result of the Stress Risk Assessment, the manager should consider the risks, the wider implications and options, record the findings and set a date by which these actions must be undertaken. A further meeting should be arranged after this date to review and complete the assessment. A record of the Stress Risk Assessment should be retained.