Healthy Work Assessment Tool - Confirming positive aspects of work
The Healthy Work Assessment Tool - Identifying stressful aspects of work - provides ways of assessing the 'unhealthiness' of work.
Its uses might be to:
- Get a picture of the nature of the work being done by a person or in your organisation;
- Gather information about a person’s difficulties in a job;
- Identify stressors in a person’s job;
- Explore the extent of agreement between an employee and a supervisor about a person’s work;
- Gather information to spot trends across an organisation;
- Gather baseline data for later comparison with evaluations.
The tool can be used to identify the unhealthy features of work. There are many ways of using such a tool – with people working singly or in groups – to list individual concerns or to agree about a group conclusion. A worker and a supervisor could complete the table together to better understand its opportunities and difficulties. One point of the tool is to emphasise the idea that while it is healthy for a worker to feel a sense of control at work, employers may very well feel a strong lack of control over the way they are constrained to conduct their business.
Care should be taken to view the job as a whole and to avoid fixing on single items and allowing them to dominate the discussion.
When using this tool the practical realities faced by employers and employees and their possibly limited abilities and opportunities to respond need to be acknowledged.
The tool should be used in a setting of dialogue. Some notes about the differences between dialogue and debate are shown here.
|Feature of healthy work||What is the evidence for the presence or absence of this feature in the workplace?||Extent to which this feature can be controlled by the||Actions needed to promote this feature –|
|Employer||Employee||Employer How can employees be supported?||Employee How can I support the employer and my colleagues?|
|Organisational function and culture: rigid work practices, poor communication, non-supportive work culture||High Low||High Low|
|Role in organisation: role/task ambiguity, role conflict, too much responsibility||High Low||High Low|
|Career development: Career uncertainty/stagnation, poor status or status incongruity, lack of rewards||High Low||High Low|
|Decision latitude/control: Little opportunity to participate in decision making, lack of control over work rate and/or scheduling||High Low||High Low|
|Relationships at work: Physical isolation, no formal employee participation system, poor relationships between people, conflict and violence, poor social support||High Low||High Low|
|Home/work interface: Conflicting demands, dual career problems||High Low||High Low|
|Task design: Lack of variety, short cycle tasks, fragmented/tedious work, under-utilisation of skills, constant customer contact||High Low||High Low|
|Workload or work pace: Lack of control over work pace, work over or underload, high levels of time pressure||High Low||High Low|
|Work schedule: Shiftwork, particularly badly designed shift rosters; inflexible work schedules; unpredictable, long or unsociable work hours||High Low||High Low|
|Work Context: Inherently hazardous work; no two way communication on workplace issues||High Low||High Low|
From 'Healthy Work Managing Stress and Fatigue in the Workplace', Table 7.2 (pages 57 and 58)