Many employees are suffering from stress to such an extent that stress related illness and depression are widespread. But how do you know how stressed your staff are and what the cause of the stress is and what can you do about it?

One way to evaluate employee stress is to conduct an assessment such as the Sources of Work Stress Inventory (SWSI).

This assessment will help you determine general levels of occupational stress and also the potential sources of stress. These sources of stress in work environments can then be isolated in order to address them.

The SWSI can be used as part of an employee wellness program, a comprehensive organisation evaluation and contribute to organisational diagnosis. One could also use the SWSI as part of a screening tool when assessing employee’s mental health for selected positions.

What areas are assessed?

The SWSI evaluates 8 potential sources of work stress:

Role Ambiguity – relates to the amount of stress experienced by an individual due to vague specifications or constant change regarding the expectations, duties, and constraints that define the individuals job.

Relationships – refers to the stress experienced by an individual as a result of having poor interpersonal relationships with colleagues and superiors, as well as being subjected to interpersonal abuse.

Tools and equipment – relates to the stress experienced by an individual due to a lack of relevant tools and equipment needed to do a job properly, or working with inappropriate, broken or complex machinery.

Job security – relates to the amount of stress experienced by an individual due to uncertainty about his/her future in the current workplace.

Career Advancement – refers to the stress experienced by an individual as a results of a perceived lack of opportunity to further his or her career prospects within the organisation for which they work.

Lack of autonomy – refers to the amount of stress experienced by an individual due to lack of decision making authority in the workplace. This can be due to either job constraints or workplace constraints.

Work/home interface – refers to the stress experienced by an individual as a result of lack of social support at home or from friends, and work/non-work additivity, spillover, and conflict with regard to stress within and outside the workplace.

Workload – refers to the amount of stress experienced by the individual due to the perception that he or she is unable to cope or be productive with the amount of work allocated to him or her.

How can I apply this in my organisation?

Individual assessment can provide important information about the individual’s level of work stress, and identify the sources of this stress for counselling purposes.

Organisation assessment can allow the organisation to identify problem areas in the workplace and to plan and implement interventions to improve employee well being.

The effectiveness of individual and/or organisational interventions can be evaluated with this tool.

For a confidential consultation contact Judy Janse van Rensburg on judyjvr@mindz.co.za or 0825381584