• International Workplace
  • 5 November 2019

International Stress Awareness Week: the importance of resilience

International Stress Awareness Week takes place this week (4-8 November). The annual event was created to raise awareness about stress prevention and the importance for individuals and organisations in order to ensure that those who are suffering from stress know where to go to seek advice.

The HSE defines stress as "the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work". Employees feel stress when they can’t cope with pressures and other issues, for example, if they feel they don’t have the skills or time to meet tight deadlines.

The theme for this year’s International Stress Awareness Week is ‘Resilience: the power to succeed!’ Resilience is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. 

Resilience is important in both our corporate and personal lives. The week’s organisers have identified many aspects of this topic that have inspired creative workshops and presentations throughout the week.

Ending the stigma associated with stress and mental health is an organisational imperative and it is the focus of the International Stress Management Association (ISMA) to continue to ensure that these issues remain high on the national agenda with the active promotion of wellbeing in the workplace. 

Managers should look out for signs of stress in employees, listed below.

Acting early can reduce the impact of pressure and make it easier to reduce or remove the causes.

A change in the way someone acts can be a sign of stress, for example they may:

  • take more time off;
  • arrive for work later; and/or
  • be more twitchy or nervous.

A change in the way someone thinks or feels can also be a sign of stress, for example:

  • mood swings;
  • being withdrawn;
  • loss of motivation, commitment and confidence; and/or
  • increased emotional reactions – being more tearful, sensitive or aggressive.

Employers must assess the risks of work-related stress in their workplace and take action to protect employees.

The HSE produces a range of management standards that help simplify risk assessment for work-related stress by:

  • identifying the main risk factors;
  • helping employers focus on the underlying causes and their prevention; and
  • providing a yardstick by which organisations can gauge their performance in tackling the key causes of stress.

Further guidance on stress in the workplace can be found at:

For further information on International Stress Awareness Week go to