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Mental Stress at the Workplace

Mental stress at work deals with external influences at work that can have a stressful effect on employees.

What Is Mental Stress in the Workplace?

Psychological health is essential for the quality of work. Mental stress at work is understood as all external influences that affect your employees at work. The guidelines of work design regarding mental stress is internationally standardized by the Norm ISO 10075. It is considered the basis for investigations of working conditions within the framework of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The main issues here are:

  • the work, or the work activity,
  • the work environment,
  • the requirement,
  • social support at work
  • the working hours.

These are all factors that can stress and severely affect the psyche at work. Here it is important to create a healthy work-life balance. Above all, the extent and duration of stress play an important role. Short periods of stress also have a positive effect on the body. Permanent stress leads to mental strain.

What Is a Mental Health Risk Assessment?

The mental health risk assessment identifies organisational weaknesses and stresses in your company through, for example, moderated meetings or surveys and regular feedback discussions to identify hazards for mental stress in the workplace.

The primary focus is on the working conditions and requirements of the employees and their influence on the mental state. It is recommended to use a questionnaire for mental stress at the workplace.

To do this, the following steps should be planned and implemented:

  1. Define work areas to be conducted for risk assessment.
  2. Identify mental stress factors at the workplace
  3. Evaluation of mental stress
  4. Development and implementation of measures
  5. Updating the risk assessment
  6. Documentation of the risk assessment

How Does Workplace Stress Affect Mental Health?

It is now well known that there are numerous links between mental stress at work and physical illness. Stress is one of the greatest health hazards in our society.

Besides burnout and depression, the chances of developing cardiovascular diseases, chronic back pain and degenerative diseases such as dementia are also increasing. In a serious case, physical stress at the workplace results in an occupational disease. That is why it is all the more important to recognise and prevent psychological stress at work at an early stage.

How Can Mental Stress at the Workplace Be Reduced?

The main thing here is to strive for and maintain a healthy “work-life balance”. Work balance must be set up to keep health risks as low as possible through a balanced relationship between tension and relaxation.

Companies can support their employees and offer them exercise and health opportunities and a solid team spirit.

Who Is Allowed to Carry Out a Mental Risk Assessment?

Since the end of 2013, mental stress has been an integral part of risk assessment under the Work Protection Law. Since then, all companies have been required to identify possible mental hazards that may cause mental stress at work.

It is treated in the same way as the other components and can be carried out by the company itself or by a designated person. The important thing here is that the decisions and measures must be traceable.

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