Psychological Hazards to Employee Wellbeing

psychological risks at work

Psychological hazards in the workplace are any factors that may adversely influence an employee’s mental health and wellbeing at work. Organisational and job design can play a huge role in a person’s psychological wellbeing. By identifying and addressing psychological hazards in the workplace, employers can improve employee satisfaction and motivation, as well as prevent mental health issues from escalating.

Hazards that impact employee wellbeing may relate to job content, organisational structure and culture, or to individual attributes

Job Role Factors incl. Organisational Factors incl. Individual Factors incl.
Autonomy/Control

Content 

Workload & Pace 

Work Schedules

Role Conflict/Ambiguity

Workplace Relationships

Organisational Function & Culture

Management

Organisational Justice 

Physical Work Environment

Coping Skills

Personality 

Attitudes 

Locus of Control 

While each of these factors play a role, we have highlighted three which we feel are foundational to a mentally healthy workplace. 

Job Control and Autonomy

When someone has ownership over their role, they are more likely to feel motivated and fulfilled. On the flipside, a lack of autonomy and job control can lead to low motivation, reduced performance, apathy and even depression. Autonomy is one of the most well-researched concepts when it comes to motivation and empowerment in the workplace. [1] Jobs with a high degree of autonomy allow individuals to be involved in decisions that impact them, control the timing and scheduling of their tasks, and have the chance to show initiative by deciding the best methods to complete tasks. 

Workplace Relationships

This includes relationships between colleagues, as well as between managers and their teams. Whilst some people will connect easily to create collaborative and constructive workplace bonds, it is inevitable in most workplaces for tension or conflict to arise at some stage. For managers, upskilling in communication and people-management skills can transform their ability to foster positive interactions at work, enhancing employee morale and wellbeing. Building the interpersonal skills of employees can have a knock on effect that benefits all areas of the business, including employee satisfaction, collaboration, absenteeism and turnover.

We have a range of programs that speak to building better workplace relationships including Positive Leadership, Effective & Respectful Communication, and Workplace Values & Teamwork.

Coping Skills

Everyone has a different threshold for stress tolerance, as well as different ways of coping with increased emotional or cognitive demands. The good news is, resilience and psychological endurance can be strengthened through the development of adaptive coping skills. Our workshops on resilience and psychological endurance provides employees with vital skills to help them respond to external pressures, such as increased workloads, tight deadlines, workplace conflict and organisational or social change. By developing practical skills in stress reduction and managing internal and external reactions to stressors, employees can learn to respond, instead of react, to stressful situations, reducing the chance of burnout or more serious mental health issues.  

We, at Associated EAP, can support your staff with a range of wellbeing, skills development, and cultural development programs to protect your staff from psychological hazards and help build respectful and productive teams. Contact us to discuss how.

[1] Reeve, J. (2006). Thematic issue: Autonomy, volitional motivation, and wellness. Motivation and Emotion, 30(4), 257-258.

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