behavioural effects, like diminished performance, withdrawal behaviours, impulsive behaviour, increase in alcohol and nicotine consumption
longer-term health issues, like musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular disease, immune deficiency disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, psychiatric/psychological illness
How work-related stress affects the workplace
There may be an increase in:
staff turnover (including the extra costs of recruitment and re-training)
accidents and injuries
health care expenditure and employee compensation claims (including WorkCover insurance premiums)
incivility, which can lead to damaged relationships and allegations of bullying behaviours
There may be a decline in:
productivity and efficiency
job satisfaction, morale and team cohesion
quality of relationships
client satisfaction (e.g. with customer service)
Preventing work-related stress
As an employer, having a prevention focus in your workplace by controlling risks that can contribute to work-related stress will help you comply with OHS law.
Risk management process
Find the hazards in your workplace. Identify factors associated with work-related stress (e.g. job demands).
Assess the risk of injury with those hazards. That means assessing the likelihood and consequence of injury or illness resulting from work-related stress. You don't have to do a formal risk assessment if there is already information about the risk and how to control it.
Control the risks. Implement risk-control measures to eliminate work-related stress risk so far as is reasonably practicable. If it is not reasonably practicable, reduce that risk so far as is reasonably practicable.
Monitor and review your risk controls to ensure they address the organisational factors that have contributed or may contribute to work-related stress. Revise the controls if they are not working.
You should consult with your employees regularly. That includes independent contractors and health and safety representatives (HSRs). They have the first-hand experience to identify tasks, systems and processes that could cause or contribute to work-related stress.
Effective and genuine communication helps to:
ensure employees feel valued and supported
create a positive and less stressful work environment/culture
encourage employees to support implemented safety solutions
This information is from 'Preventing and managing work-related stress: A guide for employers'. The complete guide is available in two formats.