Other Chronic Stressors Above and beyond the factors we’ve discussed, there are several other key issues in the workplace that can affect employee psychological health.

Within each issue are various factors that organizations need to consider when creating a mentally healthy workplace.

  • Stigma and discrimination related to mental health in the workplace is an area that organizations need to work at eliminating, especially if it relates to mental illness
  • Stress is another issue to look at. With proper knowledge and resources, stress can be exciting and motivating. Without the right support, stress can impact the workplace.
  • Demand/control and effort/reward relationships:  The research around balancing job demands and the level of control over those demands is decades old, yet it still applies. Where work demands are high and there is a matching level of control over the demands, employees can still stay in balance.  The same applies to effort and reward. If employees put in a lot of effort for very little reward, it’s likely to demotivate them. Organizations need to recognize and balance these concerns.
  • Presenteeism occurs when an employee is at work, but due to health problems or personal issues, they are not functioning at their optimum level. Most organizations don’t have an effective way of monitoring or measuring this, so people’s performance can slide over time. This stressor often results in a loss of workplace productivity. It’s really worth resolving with proper support for the sake of both the employee, and the organization.
  • Substance Use, Misuse and Abuse at Work: Addiction is also a concern for employers to keep in mind.  Having a policy in place about substance abuse in the workplace could be helpful. While addiction is a medical issue that needs to be dealt with separately, we can protect our workplace by dealing swiftly and effectively when someone shows up at work under the influence.

Best practice:

  • Look beyond the identified factors.
  • Engage employees in talking about the chronic stressors they face
  • Work together to decide what needs to be done.

As identified by workers, there are other chronic stressors that are unique to specific work environments.

For instance if you had a police force and ballet school , the stressors for these two groups will be very different , and yet they still need to be identified, and they still need to be addressed. 

It is important to go beyond the identified factors to engage employees in talking about the chronic stressors they are faced with and what you could do find solutions together.

The listed factors and chronic stressors provide a framework for continual improvement. In the same way that we look at other health and safety issues on an ongoing basis, now we have the ability to look at psychological health and safety issues on a continual basis.