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  • 30 September, 2022

  • 7 Min Read

Stress in workplaces: WHO & ILO Report

Stress in workplaces: WHO & ILO Report

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) recently released guidelines to address mental health issues in the global workforce.


What exactly is work-related stress?

  • Long hours, a heavy workload, job insecurity, and conflicts with coworkers or bosses are just a few of the many causes of work-related stress.
  • Symptoms include decreased work performance, depression, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping.

WHO and ILO Major Highlights

Economic and workforce losses

  • According to the WHO, depression and anxiety account for 12 billion lost workdays each year, costing the global economy close to $1 trillion.

Countries that have National Programmes

  • Only 5% of the working-age population had mental illness, and only 35% of countries had national programmes in place to promote work-related mental health.

Anxiety and despair are on the rise.

  • COVID-19 increased anxiety and despair by 25%, demonstrating how poorly governments anticipated its effects on mental health.
  • The pandemic highlighted a global shortage of mental health resources.
  • In 2020, governments worldwide allocated only 2% of their health budgets to mental health, with lower-middle-income countries allocating less than 1%.


Productivity decline

  • Individual well-being is sufficient reason to act, but poor mental health can also have an impact on performance and productivity.

Socioeconomic issues

  • An unhealthy work culture exacerbates broader socioeconomic issues such as inequality and discrimination, both of which have an impact on mental health.


  • Bullying or psychological assault, also known as mobbing, is a common form of workplace harassment.

Other significant challenges include:

  • Pay is low.
  • Workload overload
  • There are few opportunities for advancement or growth.
  • Work that is not interesting or challenging
  • Inadequate social support
  • Inadequate control over job-related decisions
  • Competing demands or ambiguous performance expectations

Advantages of Stress Prevention in the Workplace

  • Reduced symptoms of mental and physical illness
  • Fewer injuries, illnesses, and time lost
  • Reduced the use of sick leave, absences, and staff turnover; increased productivity
  • Improved job satisfaction
  • Increased employee engagement lowers employer costs Improved employee health and community well-being

Way forward

  • Manager training has been recommended by WHO to avoid stressful work environments and to assist distressed employees.
  • Investments: We must invest in reshaping the workplace to eliminate stigma and social exclusion and to ensure that employees suffering from mental illnesses feel protected and supported.
  • Return to your workplace: The guidelines also recommended better approaches to meeting the needs of workers suffering from mental illnesses, as well as interventions to encourage their return to work.
  • Mechanisms for paid employment: It also provided paid employment opportunities for people suffering from severe mental illnesses. The guidelines emphasised the importance of safeguarding medical, humanitarian, and emergency personnel.
  • Workplace stress is a management problem: Maintain a secure working environment. Ascertain that everyone is properly trained for their position.
  • De-stigmatize work-related stress by openly admitting it to be a genuine issue.
  • Discuss issues and grievances with employees and, when possible, take appropriate action.
  • Create a stress management policy in collaboration with your employees.
  • Encourage an environment in which employees have more say over their duties, advancement opportunities, and safety. Make arrangements for a human resources manager.
  • Reduce the need for overtime by reorganising duties or hiring extra help.
  • Consider the personal lives of your employees and recognise that the demands of home will sometimes conflict with the demands of work.
  • If necessary, seek the advice of a health professional.

Source: Down To Earth

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