If left unresolved, workplace stressors can affect your employee morale and business operations. Digitizing your workplace stress risk assessment can make gathering data more accessible and convenient so you can effectively boost your team’s overall wellbeing in no time.
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Work-related stress is one of the most common things that people experience. In manageable amounts, it can lead to improvements in productivity. Still, when stress at the workplace reaches excessive levels, it becomes potentially damaging to your workforce's mental well-being and even your work operations.
This is where the implementation of a workplace stress risk assessment makes a difference — it was designed to protect your employees' health from work-related stress. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1947 and Management and Health and Safety at Work (MHSW) Regulations 1999 mandated that employers take necessary means to guarantee the health, welfare, and safety of their workforce at work — mental health included. This means that as an employer, you have a legal duty to conduct a workplace stress risk assessment and act upon it.
In a report released by the Health and Safety Executive, the total tally for work-related ill health cases caused by work stress in the United Kingdom spiked to a whopping 51% between 2019 to 2020. That percentage translates to over 828,000 employees experiencing chronic stress, depression, and anxiety due to their working environment. While in the United States, the American Institute of Stress Survey result showed that work stress caused more health problems than marital or monetary stress. On top of this, over 25% consider their job as the primary stressor in their lives.
What these numbers essentially tell us is this: workplace stress is a prevalent issue that cannot be ignored. Using a workplace stress questionnaire, you can identify all the factors contributing to the stress your team is experiencing and take actionable steps to provide a healthier work environment. When done right, it can yield a two-way benefit:
1. What factors are the causes of stress at work
2. How to conduct a risk assessment for stress in the workplace
3. Reduce workplace stress with a digital tool
While it is true that there is no one cause of stress because employees may have professional and personal factors influencing their perception of your organization's working conditions. It is still best practice to cover all your bases and conduct a generic stress risk assessment. According to the HSE, there are six key factors where work-related stress is prevalent. These are known as the Management Standards and cover the aspects of work typically associated with poor health, decreased productivity, and higher absence rates when not managed properly.
Here are the six areas you have to watch out for:
A well-drafted workplace stress questionnaire can significantly impact preventing burnout and mental health problems in the long haul. Though the emphasis is often on protecting your employees' welfare, it can also benefit your business more than you may think.
When it comes to stress management in the workplace, taking a proactive posture is better than a reactive response. It can be detrimental to your business operations and reputation if by-products of workplace stress start to build right under your nose. A generic stress risk assessment can help you spot mistakes before they escalate. It's also important to ensure your employees are supported and comfortable in their roles. Conducting an workplace ergonomics survey or assessment can help ensure that ergonomic factors in the office are up to the required standards.
Conducting a stress risk assessment is relatively straightforward. Here are six steps to approaching the Management Standard, effectively draft a workplace stress questionnaire, and performing the assessment:
When spotting potential risk factors, the HSE recommends first focusing on team-level or department-level issues that impact a bigger number of employees. Starting on a macro level can be more efficient as removing one stressor can already have a big impact on multiple individuals. Once you've sorted through the organizational-level stressors, it's easier to manage individual cases.
Identifying workplace stressors can be tricky. However, there are several ways you can do this. For example, you can check employee attendance sheets, performance evaluations, exit interviews, and employee reviews. If you see a problem with excessive absences, then dig deeper into the relationship and workload factors. You can even spend some time on different floors or departments and observe the workplace interactions.
Once you have identified the people in your workforce who are suffering from work-related stress, you can ask them to fill in the questionnaire to gather data. In this stage, it would be good to educate them on your initiative to provide a better work environment and encourage them to be as truthful as possible as they answer. Remember that the quality of the data you gather is critical to have an objective analysis that can yield optimal results.
Your next step is analysis. Using the data, you gathered, pinpoint the stress factors and establish corrective actions and preventive measures. This is where you assess how serious the identified stressors are, their consequences, and the significance of their impact on the business. The natural course of action you would take in this step is to establish a risk priority scheme to know which stressors should be addressed first.
Make sure to comprehensively document all your findings and detail the next steps that should be taken. This not only functions as evidence that an assessment was conducted but also as a basis for future reviews.
The change will not happen overnight and will not take effect without proper monitoring. So, make it a point to conduct periodic checks to see if the corrective actions are being followed through properly. Consider including follow-up surveys in your assessment strategy, so you always have a clear idea of what's happening with your workforce. In order to achieve a sustainable change, monitoring and follow-ups should be continuous.
Completing a stress risk assessment should not place an additional burden on employers and employees. However, filling out paper forms can result in information being lost or having to worry about returning forms in a timely manner. In addition, paper documents make it difficult to analyze data and track whether stress management measures have been implemented.
Converting to digital forms management can counteract these stressors. Lumiform's mobile app and desktop software offer the ability to create and complete Stress Risk Assessment forms digitally. There is also no need to manually complete the subsequent evaluation. All collected data is securely stored in the cloud and can be easily analyzed using Lumiform's analytics feature. Take advantage of a digital application for stress management in your company:
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