What are workplace psychosocial risks?

Workplace psychosocial risks refers to the psychological and social factors in the workplace that have the potential to affect employees' mental health and wellbeing.

These risks arise from various aspects of work and can impact individuals at all levels within an organisation. It is crucial for employers to identify and address these risks to create a safe and healthy work environment.

Some key workplace psychosocial risks

  1. Work-related stress
    Work-related stress occurs when job demands exceed an employee's ability to cope with those demands. It can result from factors such as excessive workloads, tight deadlines, lack of control or autonomy, and conflicting job demands. Prolonged exposure to high levels of work-related stress can lead to mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. 
  2. Bullying and harassment
    Bullying and harassment in the workplace can have a severe psychological impact on employees. This includes behaviours such as verbal abuse, intimidation, exclusion, or the spreading of rumours. Such negative behaviours can create a hostile work environment, erode employee morale, and can lead to increased stress and anxiety.
  3. Workplace violence
    Workplace violence involves any act of physical aggression, threats, or harassment that occurs in the workplace. It can be perpetrated by colleagues, customers, or others from outside the organisation. Exposure to workplace violence can have long-lasting effects on employees' psychological wellbeing.
  4. Poor work-life balance
    When employees experience difficulties in balancing their work responsibilities with personal and family life, it can lead to significant stress and strain. Long working hours, lack of flexibility, and an 'always on' culture can contribute to poor work-life balance, affecting employees' mental health and overall wellbeing.
  5. Lack of support and recognition
    Employees who feel undervalued or unsupported in the workplace may experience low morale, decreased job satisfaction, and increased stress levels. The absence of effective communication, feedback and recognition can contribute to feelings of isolation and reduced motivation.
  6. Organisational change and job insecurity
    Periods of organisational changes such as restructuring, downsizing, or mergers can create uncertainty and job insecurity among employees. The fear of potential job loss or changes in work conditions can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and decreased job satisfaction.
  7. High workload and time pressure
    When employees face excessive work demands, such as unrealistic deadlines or unmanageable workloads, it can result in heightened stress levels. High workload and time pressure can impede employees’ ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance and may contribute to burnout. 
It is vital for workplaces to identify, assess and manage these psychosocial risks to ensure the wellbeing of employees. By addressing these risks proactively, employers can foster a positive work environment, enhance productivity, and support the mental health of their workforce.
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