The Usual Ineffective Response to Workplace Stress

Four factors normally inhibit organisations from addressing workplace stress:

  1. they haven’t got a problem (as yet);
  2. they don’t want to acknowledge responsibility;
  3. individuals are reluctant to admit to and discuss stress for fear of being judged; and
  4. the way forward to manage stress is unknown, and the required skills, knowledge and resources are not available

Where there is workplace stress so that an organisation has to intervene, the most common response is to provide rehabilitation, counselling, therapy or treatment.

Research shows that this tertiary response is the least effective and most costly option.

Organisations have also been adopting secondary interventions such as employee resilience training, relaxation methods, pre-emptive counselling and targeted stress management training.

In the short to medium term, these mechanisms do have some impact but they fail to meet the Workplace Health and Safety Management Standards and the Hierarchy of Hazard Controls.