It is well known that stress is a significant health issue in the modern workplace that can detrimentally affect employee health and productivity. What may be less well known is that psychosocial stressors are also a significant risk factor for musculoskeletal disorders1. Psychosocial stressors may include factors such as the demands of the job, the ability to have control over decisions and the degree of social support within the workplace. Identifying and managing psychosocial stressors should be a key priority for any corporate wellness programme.
A lot of research has been done in recent times on ways of measuring stress and psychosocial stressors in the workplace. One of the best known results of this research is the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ)2. This questionnaire has been extensively tested and shown to be successful in identifying the following stressors amongst staff.
|Low job control|
|High mental load|
|High work demands|
|High work stress|
|Low social support from colleagues|
|Lack of feedback at work|
|Low sense of community|
|Lack of sufficient leadership|
The below illustration shows the first page of the assessment, which is based upon the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire2. To avoid possible negative connotations of the technical term ‘psychosocial’ amongst employees the assessment is renamed the ‘Work Load and Work Environment’ assessment.
After the assessment is completed, each employee will receive a report with a risk rating, list of recommendations, and advice on managing any psychosocial stressors found to be present.
To protect employee privacy, employee answers to the assessment questions are kept confidential. Only summary information on the stressors found is available to management.
Management reports enable you to identify high risk employees and see the top stressors present in your organisation. You can also view reports on stress levels by department.
The Psychosocial Stressors Assessment is a component of the Wellnomics Risk Management solution. Data from this assessment is combined with other assessments (such as Posture and Workstation, Symptoms, and Measurement of Computer Use and Breaks) to calculate overall risk levels for employees and the organisation.
1See datasheet The Research behind Wellnomics
2The Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire--a tool for the assessment and improvement of the psychosocial work environment , 2005, Scand J Work Environ Health. Dec; 31(6):438-49.