HSE's formal definition of work related stress is:
"The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work."
Stress is not an illness – it is a state. However, if stress becomes too excessive and prolonged, mental and physical illness may develop.
Work is generally good for people if it is well designed, but it can also be a great source of pressure. There is a difference between pressure and stress. Pressure can be positive and a motivating factor, and is often essential in a job. It can help us achieve our goals and perform better. Stress occurs when this pressure becomes excessive. Stress is a natural reaction to too much pressure.
Devon County Council is committed to ensuring that all reasonable measures are in place to maintain and enhance staff wellbeing so that staff can lead productive and healthy working lives. The Council Health Safety & Wellbeing Policy makes this commitment explicit and is supported by other policies developed under the auspices of this main policy. The Council's stress management strategy and policy aim to reduce excessive workplace pressure and help staff maintain and even enhance their sense of wellbeing.
Whilst the emphasis of the Council's policy is mainly concerned with causes of stress where these are rooted within the organisation, it also recognises that it is often difficult to separate personal and work-related problems as each will tend to impact on the other and therefore the policy and guidance take a holistic approach to this area of staff wellbeing.