Stress Risk Assessments

What are Stress Risk Assessment?

Stress Risk Assessments are a way of assessing factors at work that contribute to mental health problems. These factors are related to people management and include poor communications, relationships at work, excessive work load, or job insecurity, all of which can have a detrimental effect on employees’ mental health.

Is stress a problem in your workplace?

That’s a question employers often ask. How do you know if you need to do a Stress Risk Assessment?  To answer this, think about what sort of problems are having?  It could be that your employees are having difficulties completing projects on time, or perhaps there are complaints by staff, or sickness absence is becoming a problem. All or some of these might be an indication that they are struggling with stress. The most effective way is to ask your staff through forum, appraisal and feedback systems. Staff will know if they are stressed – but management may not.

What will a Stress Risk Assessment show?

Stress is rarely caused by one single issue, and often be the result of a number of factors. For example, if your staff are struggling with their workload and are spending too many hours at work, this can effect relationships at home, or if they don’t feel their concerns are being heard they may feel undervalued. The Stress Risk Assessment will cover those areas associated with stress at work and include:

  • Work/life balance – are staff encouraged to work sensible hours and take lunch breaks?
  • Leadership – are employee’s contributions valued? Is there a system of supportive supervision?
  • Change management – do changes at work involve staff?
  • Communication –is communication open, and responsive? Can staff seek support?
  • Being listened to – are employees’ opinions valued? Can staff speak out?
  • Relationships – is the workplace a supportive environment for everyone?

How to use Stress Risk Assessments

The Stress Risk Assessment will show managers which areas are associated with stress in their workplace. Once you understand the factors affecting mental health, you will be able to make changes to improve your employees’ wellbeing. A Stress Risk Assessments will identify which areas are causing difficulties for your staff and how to improve the working environment  to reduce the risk of mental health problems.

The changes might include providing additional support such as training for managers to encourage them to speak regularly with their team members about their mental health, creating a more flexible workplace or instigating forums to listen to staff concerns. Changes to the workplace will not necessarily have an immediate impact, but over time they have been shown to make a significant benefit your employees’ mental health.