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Why are stress and psychosocial risks important?

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Stressed and psychosocial risks - affected woman

The psychosocial workplace environment has a significant effect on the health and well-being of workers.

Workers suffering from work-related stress can go on to develop serious mental and physical health problems. This in turn has an impact on the organisation and society as a whole.

For the individual worker, the negative effects may include

  • burnout and depression;
  • difficulty in concentrating;
  • problems at home;
  • drug and alcohol abuse; and
  • poor physical health, especially cardiovascular disease and musculoskeletal problems.

At the organisation level, the negative effects include

  • poor overall business performance;
  • increased absenteeism;
  • presenteeism (workers turning up for work when they are sick and unable to function effectively); and
  • increased accident and injury rates.

Check out our infographic on Cost of work-related stress to business and key warning signs

On the positive side, by creating a good psychosocial work environment you are ensuring that workers are healthy and productive at work. Absences due to work-related stress will be reduced or non-existent. And the business costs resulting from lost productivity will also be reduced.

Successfully managing work-related stress and psychosocial risks will help to maintain a happy workforce. Worker engagement, commitment and innovation will increase.
Work-related stress may also contribute to increased rates of early retirement. A positive work environment will help to retain such workers.

Learn more about work-related stress and managing psychosocial risks at work on the EU-OSHA website.