What is a Workplace Stress Risk Assessment

Published on 07/12/2019


Do you place a huge amount of importance on stress?

Or, do you simply shrug it off and assume it’s something you have to deal with as a regular part of life?

If you’re in the second camp, it’s time to change your mindset, as stress, especially workplace stress, is something we should all be doing our best to avoid and deal with as quickly as possible. 

Society tells us that we should ‘shut up and put up’ when it comes to pressure at work. The thing is, you can expect a small amount of pressure, for sure, but when it becomes too much, should you be expected to deal with it?

Not at all. 

Workplace stress has the potential to overpower your entire mind and body, ruin your personal relationships, destroy your peace of mind, and in the end, could even threaten your entire life. 

Yes, stress can be life-threatening when left to grow to unsafe levels, over a long period of time. All of this from the comfort of your office desk. 

Check out this video which explains just how stress can make you very sick indeed. 

Now we know the severity of stress in general, with work stress included in that description, what can we do about it?

Businesses have been trying to learn how to monitor stress levels in the workplace for a long time but the problem is that many people who are stressed don’t actually feel they can admit it. We tend to think we’re lacking or failing if we’re feeling under pressure, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone struggles from time to time and if you’re placed in a situation which is unrealistic and unattainable, how are you supposed to feel anything other than overwhelmed?

In that case, stress is natural and it’s time we all started to hold our hands up and admit that whilst we’re sitting at our office chairs, we sometimes feel stressed out, occasionally to severe levels. 

Where Does a Workplace Stress Risk Assessment Come Into it?

One of the ways you can go about dealing with stress in the workplace is to use a stress risk assessment. 

Risk assessments in the workplace should be carried out on a regular basis whenever a change is made. This could be when a new office booth is introduced and you want to check its safety or effectiveness. It could be when you’re changing the entire way your office works, perhaps moving to an agile workspace, and you want to ensure safety and productivity. 

Risk assessments are there to identify issues and deal with them before anything actually occurs. So, how can these assessments help with work stress?

Whenever a new way of working is introduced, whenever a new target is introduced, and whenever new office furniture is implemented, a risk assessment may be able to identify whether excessive pressure will be placed on the people using it, i.e. your employees. 

For instance, if a new computer system is implemented, you need to check that it is worth the cost, you need to check that it’s going to do what you need it to do, and you also need to check that it’s going to work effectively and it’s not going to add extra workload to an already busy day for your employees. You would do this via a risk assessment, ticking boxes and looking at the results in order to make your decision and make any necessary changes to adapt and reduce risk. 

Most people assume that risk assessments are done with only health and safety in the workplace in mind, but they’re done with wellbeing in mind too. It’s important to check every single change you make in terms of how much pressure you’re putting on your employees, and then you’re going a long way to help reduce workplace stress and show your employees that you really care about their health and wellbeing whilst they’re at work. 

Of course, this all links in to morale, which has a direct link with productivity. Do you know what else links to productivity? Profitability! 

As you can see, focusing on reducing work stress is win-win all around!

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