“And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.”
2 Corinthians 11:28 (ESV)
Stress and anxiety were well known to the writers of our Bible, and we can thankfully gain comfort and wisdom from its words on the subject.
Characteristically, Jesus invited “all who labour and are heavy laden” to come to him, with the promise “I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). To the extent that Christian employers replicate this gentle and lowly concern for their employees, it communicates volumes to those who benefit from it, as well as those who witness Christlike love in action.
Sadly, in the busy-ness and business of Christian mission and ministry the wellbeing of workers all too often takes second place. The cost of this – personal, and for the ministry and mission of the employer organisation – can be very considerable.
Recently published Acas guidance
Acas’ recently published advice about managing work related stress is therefore an important and timely resource for Christian employers to read during this year’s mental health awareness week. It includes helpful sections about the causes and signs of stress, understanding the law, as well as advice about how to support employees with work-related stress and how to prevent it.
Employers’ legal duties
Employers have a legal duty to take reasonable care for the health, safety and welfare of their employees. This extends to physical and mental well-being, and includes health and safety risks arising from work-related stress. Employers therefore need to undertake a “suitable and sufficient” assessment of the health and safety risks that employees are exposed to. Where an organisation employs 5 or more employees, any significant findings need to be recorded in writing.
The ACAS advice serves as an online hub to help employers to understand and comply with their legal responsibilities and even to excel in them, with links to related online resources such as the Stress Talking Toolkit from the Health and Safety Executive, and Wellness Action Plans from Mind.
Thinking it through for your organisation
Whatever the size of your organisation, if you employ staff you will find the ACAS advice and its linked resources thought-provoking, supportive, and practical. They are intended to be preventative of, as well as responsive to mental ill-health, and they capture lots of good thinking and wisdom about this topic.
Banner photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.