Is work stressing you out? A new smartphone APP can help you understand why and provide a starting point for discussions to improve working conditions.
The Measure Workplace Stress APP, designed by the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) with help from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), asks users to respond to a series of questions each of which can add to the stress burden for affected workers. Examples of questions include:
- Do you have enough time for your work tasks?
- Do you have a large degree of influence concerning your work?
- How often do you get help and support from your nearest superior?
- How well are safety concerns managed?
- At your workplace during the last 12 months, have you been exposed to bullying?
Once the survey is complete individual results are immediately compared to a reference population gauging whether your workplace situation is better or worse for each grouping of questions. You can then readily access additional information with ideas to eliminate or reduce exposure to stressful working conditions.
Although stress is a normal part of life and work, too much can lead to debilitating health impacts including depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and other mental illnesses/injuries. Research also suggests stress is a significant contributing factor to health impacts ranging from the common cold and musculoskeletal disorders to heart disease and cancer.
Mental illness is estimated to cost the Canadian economy in excess of $50 billion dollars annually. Direct cost to business in lost productivity and turnover is more than $6 billion dollars. Mental illnesses account for approximately 30 per cent of short and long-term disability claims. In fact, they are the fastest growing disability claim in Canada.
Without preventive actions at the workplace level, stress will continue to be a significant burden on affected workers and employers.