In a world where productivity, employee satisfaction and operational efficiency are top priorities, companies are faced with an increasingly pressing challenge: managing psychosocial risks (PSR) in the workplace.

In a world where productivity, employee satisfaction and operational efficiency are top of the agenda, companies are faced with an increasingly pressing challenge: how to manage psychosocial risks in the workplace. 

Indeed, 44% of employees in France took sick leave at least one day in 2022 (according to AXA’s Bilan de l’absentéisme 2022 et projection 2023). And this figure continues to rise, more precisely by 41% between 2019 and 2022. 

But what’s most alarming is that it’s no longer physical problems that are the main cause of long-term sick leave, but psychological disorders.

Psychosocial risks: what are they?

The term psychosocial risk refers to situations where we may be confronted with…

 🟩  Stress: for example, an imbalance between the demands of our professional environment and our own ability to cope. 

 🟩  Internal violence: for example, moral or sexual harassment, or intense conflict between individuals or teams.

 🟩  External violence: for example, aggression from people outside the company, including insults, threats or assaults.

What are the 6 psychosocial risk factors?

The way our work is organised and our work environment has an impact on our exposure to psychosocial risks. According to the Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité (INRS) in France, these factors fall into 6 categories

  1. Work intensity and time
  2. Emotional demands
  3. Lack of autonomy
  4. Poor social relations at work
  5. Conflicts of values
  6. Job insecurity (read more here). 

Consequences for employees and employers

Chronic stressful situations, the accumulation of risks or the existence of incompatible factors such as high demands with little room for manoeuvre, can have serious consequences for the employee:

✖️ Psychological disorders

✖️  Cardiovascular diseases or musculoskeletal disorders

And the company

✖️ Reduced productivity

✖️ Increased absenteeism and turnover

✖️  Deterioration of the employer brand

Technology: a paradox for psychosocial risks

Technology has radically transformed the way we work, interact and evolve within our companies. But it hasn’t come without its negative impacts.

  1. Information overload: employees are often overwhelmed by an avalanche of emails, instant messages and constant notifications, which can lead to increased stress and reduced concentration.
  2. Blurred boundaries between professional and personal life: home-working and constant access to work tools via digital devices have made it difficult to separate professional and personal life, which can lead to burnout.
  3. Cyber-harassment and online bullying: via harmful uses of corporate communication platforms.

Detecting and preventing psychosocial risks

But whilst technology can sometimes be accused of playing a role in triggering mental health problems in the workplace, it also offers innovative solutions for detecting, preventing and managing psychosocial risks. 

  1. Proactive monitoring: technological tools can monitor employee well-being indicators in real time. This data can help managers to quickly identify signs of stress or demotivation, thus enabling early intervention.
  2. Anonymous and confidential communication: technological platforms provide a space where employees can report problems anonymously. This encourages open and frank communication about psychosocial risks without fear of adverse consequences. 
  3. Artificial intelligence (AI) and data analysis: AI algorithms can analyse employee behaviour patterns to detect trends in psychosocial risks. This enables a proactive response before problems escalate. 

Establishing an effective action plan: Zest’s tips

Ensure a climate of psychological safety: encourage a work environment where employees feel comfortable expressing their ideas, concerns and emotions without fear of negative consequences. Take stock of the situation in your organisation using our Psychological Safety survey template. 

Support employees during major life transitions: offer tailored support at key moments in your employees’ professional lives. Launch monthly Check-Ins and take a look at the Return to Work check-in template. 

Train managers in mental health: give managers the tools they need to identify signs of psychological distress in their employees and support them appropriately. Take a look at our Team Pulse survey template. 

Raise employee awareness of mental health: organise awareness sessions to inform teams of psychosocial risks, the warning signs of stress and burnout and the resources available to get help. Activate the Mood feature with SOS.

It’s clear that technology can play a crucial role in managing psychosocial risks in the workplace. Whilst it may contribute to some of these risks, it can also offer innovative solutions to prevent and proactively manage them. With careful use of technology, companies can ultimately create a healthier working environment that is more conducive to the mental health of their employees.

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