Stress risk assessment

There are several different tools available to staff and managers which can be used according to the situation required. For further information on this you can contact the Safety, Health and Wellbeing Team via

The self-assessment wellbeing snap shot tool

The Robertson Cooper wellbeing snapshot tool is an aid for an individual to find out more about their own wellbeing. Once the report is completed (it takes about 10 minutes), it can be downloaded. The personalised report highlights areas the employee may like to focus on to further improve their own wellbeing. It also includes activities and support services at the University of Exeter that employees can access.

What this tool does:

  • Gives an insight into employees own wellbeing.
  • The report will be personal to the employee and they are not required to share it, or even tell anyone they have completed it.
  • The University will use trend data from this system to identify wellbeing initiatives that staff would find most useful (for example if many people are not eating healthy food, the University can identify a trend and support the eateries on site to provide healthy options). Robertson Cooper will only provide trends of greater than 10 and will not under any circumstances give details of names
  • Personal details will be maintained confidentially – no one at the University will have access to personalised reports.

Group based self-assessments

Managers can encourage all staff to carry out the self-assessment tool and use results in team meetings to agree positive wellbeing steps you can take as a team. Working as a team can help improve engagement, resilience and morale.

This will rely on staff being willing to carry out the assessment and share the results, but even if some of the team are willing, that would be a good place to start.

What this approach will do:

  • Develop a culture of openness and awareness of wellbeing / mental health
  • Encourage teamwork and engagement
  • Demonstrate management commitment to wellbeing

Team based assessments

For managers who would like to proactively review potential triggers of stress across the team as a whole, the workplace team assessment can be used (please see Workplace Team Risk Assessment Tool). This is a desk top exercise for the manager to carry out looking at the 6 essential stressors and the known workload, behaviours etc within the team. Actions can then be taken by the manager where possible risks have been identified. This is a very proactive step and an example of best practice.

What this approach will do:

  • Take a wider look at the team and areas that could be of concern;
  • Enable managers to identify foreseeable risks to the team;
  • Implement proactive actions.

Workplace pressures risk assessment

If a manager identifies that a member of staff is feeling stressed, there is a structured process in place to support employees to talk about it with the aim of identifying triggers and implementing reasonable adjustments.

There are different circumstances when a manager should be asking an employee to work with them on a Workplace Pressures Risk Assessment:

  1. An employee reports that they are struggling to cope / feeling stressed;
  2. An employee is absent from work due to stress. This discussion will form part of the plan to safely return the employee to work;
  3. As part of a recommendation from Occupational Health where Occupational Health feel that the employee would benefit from this level of support.

The Workplace Pressures Risk Assessment used is based on the Robertson Cooper “six essentials”. This assessment is based around a conversation with the employee to try and establish the underlying reasons/root cause(s) of their stress. The employee and manager (or chosen representative) will identify which areas to focus on based on the employee's responses to questions.

There is further guidance available to on how to carry out the assessment.

All managers are encouraged to attend the managing wellbeing training which aims to provide specific insight into how to manage wellbeing (including stress) and the steps to take to help an employee.

Completing a workplace pressures risk assessment will:

  • Encourage managers and employees to talk in a structured way about how the employee is feeling;
  • Reduce any feelings of loneliness and isolation on the part of the employee and ensure that the manager has the opportunity to help;
  • Agree a planned set of interventions (reasonable adjustments) for the manager and employee;
  • To agree and arrange follow up meetings to continue to support the employee.