The effects of psychosocial risks on individuals and organizations

Organisations are stepping up their efforts to promote their workforce’s welfare and mental health. Employers frequently see an employee’s mental health requirements through the prism of how difficulties in their personal lives may influence their capacity to be present and effective at work. However, the impact of psychosocial hazards that arise at work must also be understood and addressed.

Psychosocial workplace concerns are sometimes referred to as “stress,” and while stress is not a sickness in and of itself, it can lead to significant physical and mental illness if not handled. Though the impacts of psychosocial stresses on employees vary based on an individual’s mental health, personal life, and capacity to cope healthily, there are common signs suggesting the existence and impact of stress in your business.

Individuals who are stressed at work may show poor relationships with co-workers, impatience, indecisiveness, decreased job performance, and an increase in harmful behaviours such as smoking, alcohol drinking, and drug use and abuse. 

High staff turnover, increased absenteeism, reduced work performance, customer complaints, decreased employee satisfaction and morale, and changes in worker behaviour, such as lack of engagement at work, avoiding working with others on a team. Frequent conflicts with others are all signs of the impact of psychosocial hazards at the organisational level.

What can employers do to avoid or minimise psychosocial risks?

Human capital refers to the individuals who are critical to an organisation’s success and their cumulative knowledge, skills, and experience. This implies that employees in any firm are evaluated based on the value they give.

Employers must protect the psychological well-being of their employees by providing a healthy work environment that mitigates and avoids psychosocial risks to maintain the value of human capital.

This can be achieved by creating a transparent and encouraging organisational culture, lowering the stigma surrounding mental health issues and stress, ensuring role clarity, and granting employees the freedom to complete their work in a way that suits them (including work hours, remote work, and work-life balance), teaching leaders how to effectively and pro-actively address mental health concerns, and providing extensive benefits for employees mental health.

The first step in addressing an organisation’s psychosocial risk factors is to examine whether any of the aforementioned impacts of psychosocial stress are present. To protect the well-being of your employees and your business, the next step is to put a strategy in place to avoid and minimise any psychological and occupational hazards. Focus groups and surveys are also practical tools for assessing psychosocial concerns.

Yes, there is a time, energy and resource commitment required to address psychological dangers in the workplace, but the payoff will be great. Increased psychological and physical health and well-being among employees will influence everything from attrition to creativity, assisting your company in maintaining its position as an industry leader and a place where employees like coming to work.


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