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Support: Dealing with Stress in the Workplace

Conducting a Stress Audit [2.10.2f 1]

National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA)

The following is an excerpt from Stress and Burnout: A Prevention Handbook for the Alcohol and Other Drugs Workforce, by Natalie Skinner and Anne Roach from National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), Flinders University: Adelaide, Australia. The full Stress and Burnout handbook can be found at Here or through a search request Here.
 “A stress audit conducted by a manager is not likely to deal with one of the most common workplace stressors—a poor manager.” [1] p.60
The first stage in an intervention to alleviate stress or prevent burnout is a comprehensive assessment of stressors in the workplace, as experienced by individuals or groups. This process is crucial to the identification of stressors of most relevance to a particular group or individual.
Most organizational strategies start with a stress audit to identify the particular aspects of the work situation that cause difficulties for workers[2]. A stress audit may be conducted as a survey of workers, or may involve more informal focus groups or discussions between workers and supervisors.[3]   
Initially, a stress audit can be used to gauge the extent of the problem (i.e., how stressed are workers?) and the nature of the problem (i.e., are there difficulties with workload or supervision?). As with any organizational intervention or change, stress audits should be conducted on a regular basis to monitor and evaluate any changes to the work environment that may affect workers’ well being.
To ensure an unbiased approach, the responsibility for implementing a stress audit should rest with an individual or group outside of the team, department, or organization. 


[1] Kickul, J., & Posig, M. (2001). Supervisory emotional support and burnout: An explanation of reverse buffering effects. Journal of Managerial Issues, 13, 328-344.
[2] Lehman, W. E. K., Greener, J. M., & Simpson, D. D. (2002). Assessing organizational readiness for change.Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 22, 197-209.
[3] Jordan, J., Gurr, E., Tinline, G., Giga, S., Faragher, B., & Cooper, C. (2003). Beacons of excellence in stress prevention. Norwich, UK: Health and Safety Executive

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