Management of work-related stress by Finnish occupational physicians
Background Occupational stress is a serious threat to the well-being of employees and organizations and may cause ill-health and loss of productivity. Determining the methods that occupational health (OH) services and employers use to manage work-related stress can help to detect both barriers and facilitating factors for effective stress management.
Aims To examine stress management methods used by OH physicians in Finland.
Methods Anonymous, self-administered e-mail questionnaire to Finnish OH physicians.
Results A total of 222 OH physicians responded. Neither OH services nor their client organizations used standardized tools to assess or manage work-related stress. Work-related stress was assessed using patient interviews. Physicians reported that the main method used to manage occupational stress was supporting the individual employee. Half of the physicians attempted to involve workplaces in stress management by asking their patients to contact their supervisors regarding stress issues.
Conclusions In order to tackle work-related stress consistently and effectively employers and OH services should have agreed standardized protocols for managing stress in the workplace.