HSE’s Stress Indicator Tool
Stress in the workplace is a common issue that can have negative effects on employees and organizations. It is a state of mental or emotional strain resulting from demanding circumstances or excessive work pressures. While some level of stress can be motivating and boost productivity, chronic or excessive stress can be detrimental to individuals and their overall well-being. It can manifest in physical, mental, and behavioral symptoms, resulting in decreased performance, absenteeism, burnout, and even long-term health problems.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is a UK government agency responsible for promoting health and safety in the workplace. It includes mental health as part of the strategy for workplace health and safety. The HSE has developed tools and resources to help organizations identify and manage work-related stress, with one prominent tool being the Stress Indicator Tool (SIT).
The SIT is an online survey that helps companies identify sources of stress within their working environment by gathering data anonymously from employees. The SIT allows employers to evaluate six key areas of work design set forth in HSE’s Management Standards approach. These areas, which are known to be the likely root causes of stress in the workplace, are:
- Demands: This includes issues such as workload, work patterns, and the work environment.
- Control: How much say the person has in the way they do their work.
- Support: This includes the encouragement, sponsorship, and resources provided by the organisation, line management, and colleagues.
- Relationships: This includes promoting positive behaviours at work to avoid conflict and dealing with unacceptable behaviour.
- Role: Whether people understand their role within the organisation and whether the organisation ensures that they do not have conflicting roles.
- Change: How organisational change (large or small) is managed and communicated in the organization.1
By measuring these areas, organizations can identify potential stressors and take steps to manage them.
The HSE is offering a series of webinars on its Stress Indicator Tool. The SIT is available to employers in free and premium versions. It also has an optional add-on module to assess those employees working from home full time or part of the time—the Home and Hybrid Working Tool.
Note, though, that the SIT is just one of many tools available to employers. The HSE offers more guidance on stress and mental health at work on its website.2 In addition, Emcare provides several courses on mental health.
1https://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/standards/index.htm Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence.