Psychological Risk - Job Demands
One of the risk factors in any job is that of demand. This refers to the physical, emotional and cognitive demands associated with jobs. focusing on the emotional and cognitive aspect there are various aspect to consider.
One of the risk factors in any job is that of demand. This refers to the physical, emotional and cognitive demands associated with jobs. focusing on the emotional and cognitive aspect there are various aspect to consider:
High or Low
Clearly roles with high demands pose risks to workers, but so too, do roles with low demands. An unengaged worker, one with more capacity than the job requires, will feel under-utilized and frustrated leading to thoughts of self-worth/value and is rich breeding ground for resentment and negative behaviour.
TIPs – ask team members how they are feeling with their roles, if they have additional ideas on how to do their tasks, would like added responsibility.
This refers to the necessary level of thought and intellectual skill required for a job. Often these jobs need higher levels of education and commitment, are pressured with either business or time performance measures like doctors, lawyers, accountants etc. The psychological risk of distress, burn-out and subsequent illness is high due to the inability to ‘switch-off’ out of hours, long hours, mental exhaustion with low/slow recovery and reduction in enjoying their pleasurable activities.
TIPS – clear policy around work hour expectations (it’s not about working long hours, but about wanting to vs having to), out-of-hours policy for phone and email usage, educate staff in ways to relax, promote self-awareness and stress management techniques. Successful methods will involve both a person-centred approach combined with an organisational adaption.
Roles with high emotional demands such as teachers, nurses, healthcare workers face significant psychological risk through vicarious trauma, in-ability to separate work from home emotional life, compassion fatigue and transference issues.
TIPS – include variety in roles through rostering, task delegation or secondments, ensure professional development or counselling is available, regular and informal check-ins from supervisors/team leaders, training to understand what trauma is and how to spot/cope with it in others, general mental health awareness and EQ training. Ensure staff that manage other staff have the right skills to communicate and are empowered by management and policy to be adaptive and flexible.
Remember that jobs are rarely set in stone, there is often some flexibility in tasks designated to each team member and that even a rotating of responsibilities can be hugely beneficial in reducing the impact of demand upon workers.