Frameworks and Standards

The University's approach to the prevention and management of work-related stress is informed by Robertson-Coopers Six Essentials for Wellbeing and the HSE Stress management standards.

What are the six essentials for wellbeing?

Feelings of stress can arise in a number of ways and can build up over time, or happen as a result of a specific event or situation. Wellbeing Specialists Robertson Cooper’s six essentials framework helps to break down feelings of stress and understand the causes. Almost anything that causes stress will fit into one or more of these areas, which are explained below.

Resources and communication

Resources cover everything from specialist training, to IT equipment, right through to a new stapler! Communication is having adequate information about what’s going on in the organisation, and the local team.


Control provides a sense of autonomy, and the chance to influence what, and how, work is done. People need to have a feeling of control if that’s how they prefer to work - but remember, you can’t force it on everyone as, contrary to popular belief, some people want it more than others.

Balanced workload

A balanced workload means not being faced by work overload or a negative work-life balance. For some people, this relates to leaving work on time because they have commitments to fulfil outside of work; whereas in certain organisations a heavy workload will be seen as an inevitable part of the role. What’s important in managing a balanced workload is to establish how troubled people are by the situation.

Job security and change

Some people embrace change, others recoil from it, but when our sense of job security is threatened it will be difficult for nearly all of us. While the situation can’t always be avoided, you can always ensure that you deal with it effectively.

Work relationships

Work relationships are at their best when the interaction between colleagues is collaborative, but also stimulating and challenging - for example in the form of constructive debate and/or healthy competition within the team.

Job conditions

Job conditions are the things that add up to a sense of job satisfaction, as well as covering pay and benefits and bullying.

What are the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Stress Management Standards?

  • Demands - Staff are able to cope with the demands of the job
  • Control - Staff are able to have a say about the way work is done
  • Support - Staff receive adequate information and support from colleagues and line managers
  • Relationships - Staff are not subjected to unacceptable behaviours e.g. bullying and harassment, at work
  • Role - Staff understand their role and responsibilities
  • Change - Staff are involved and consulted about organisational changes

Further information about the HSE Stress Management Standards can be found on the HSE Website.