All About the People Ltd
All About the People Ltd
All About the People Ltd

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DUTY

OF CARE

DEFINING AN EMPLOYER’S DUTY OF CARE

We often talk of an employer’s ‘duty of care’ to their employees. But just what does this duty consist of?

Employers have a duty of care to their employees, which means that they should take all steps which are reasonably possible to ensure their health, safety and wellbeing. Demonstrating concern for the physical and mental health of your workers shouldn’t just be seen as a legal duty – there’s a clear business case, too. It can be a key factor in building trust and reinforcing your commitment to your employees, and can help improve staff retention, boost productivity and pave the way for greater employee engagement.

Legally, employers must abide by relevant health & safety and employment law, as well as the common law duty of care. Employers also have a moral and ethical duty not to cause, or fail to prevent, physical or psychological injury, and must fulfil their responsibilities with regard to personal injury and negligence claims.

Requirements under an employer’s duty of care are wide-ranging and may manifest themselves in many different ways, such as:

  • Clearly defining jobs and undertaking risk assessments
  • Ensuring a safe work environment
  • Providing adequate training and feedback on performance
  • Ensuring that staff do not work excessive hours
  • Providing areas for rest and relaxation
  • Protecting staff from bullying or harassment, either from colleagues or third parties
  • Protecting staff from discrimination
  • Providing communication channels for employees to raise concerns
  • Consulting employees on issues which concern them.

What is work related stress?

Work related stress is quite simply a form of stress caused by things that happen at work. Challenge is a normal part of having a job, and most people enjoy it to a certain extent. However, when those challenges override the ability to cope, the body and mind can begin to suffer. While stress is a natural and useful human response, in excess it can be very unhealthy and cause all sorts of havoc across the body, including headaches, high blood pressure and depression.

The impact of work related stress

The UK government is taking steps to address work related stress due to the far-reaching problems it causes both socially and financially. An estimated 13.4 million sick days are taken for work related stress every year, costing employers around £3.7 billion annually in lost productivity and £7 billion to the wider economy.

How can counselling help with work related stress?

It is important to seek help if you think you are suffering from work related stress. It’s easy to think it’ll pass, or that it’s all part of the natural working world but the truth is – it’s not. Work, in general, should make you feel good. Having a job adds structure and purpose to life, while earning money is the key to independence and freedom.

Of course there will be days where you feel tired, emotional and stressed but if you’re carrying those feelings around with you every day, you will wear yourself out. Work related stress can lead to the following mental health problems:

  • anxiety
  • low self-esteem
  • low self-confidence
  • depression
  • suicidal thoughts

If work stress is starting to impact your personal life – causing sleep deprivation, dread, anxiety and unhelpful habits like drinking, smoking, or overeating, then may be useful to seek help. Counselling aims to get to the root of work related stress. We are all different and as such we all react differently to certain situations. It can be useful to explore your own unique patterns of thinking and behaving in a place away from the work environment. This will help you to unravel your feelings and move forwards more freely.

Sometimes, problems can stem deeper than they first appear. Many people continue to encounter the same problems time and time again in life because they don’t tackle them from the roots.

Counselling can bring these issues to the surface and deal with them one by one in a confidential setting. By addressing your work related stress, you can lower your risk of it developing into a more serious problem.

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Duty of Care