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Managing Stress and Conflict in the Workplace

15th March 2017 HR and H&S

Statistics published by the HSE show that the total number of cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2015/16 was 488,000 cases, a prevalence rate of 1510 per 100,000 workers.

Employers have duties under health and safety law to assess and take measures to control risks from work-related stress.

If an employee suffers from stress related ill-health and the court decides that the employer should have been able to prevent it, the employer could be found to be negligent.

There is no limit to the compensation an employee could get from this. Managing stress and conflict in the workplace can be a challenge.

The symptoms may be difficult to recognise as they are not always obvious, they are both linked to similar behaviours and often linked to each other.


It can be difficult to determine which came first the stress or the conflict? It is important that any situations of stress or conflict are addressed quickly and dealt with appropriately.

Stress and Conflict in the workplace can affect:
• Levels of motivation
• Performance and productivity
• Sickness absence levels

Stress and Conflict can cause:
• Disagreements and disputes
• Increased workload on others
• Low staff retention levels
• Loss of talent
• An increased level of grievances

Stress and Conflict can be a result of many factors:
• Poor management
• Inadequate training
• Poor communication
• Bullying and harassment


What can employers do to help?

• Create awareness, improve understanding
• Encourage open communication between staff and line managers
• Have clear policies in place
• Build line management capabilities through training and support
• Know when and how to seek specialist support