A tool called TAWS-16 that can measure work stress has been developed by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurological Sciences in Bangalore.
A study, titled Face, Content, Criterion and Construct Validity Assessment of a Newly Developed Tool To Assess and Classify Work–Related Stress (TAWS-16), published in the PLOS One Journal in early January, stated that the tool has been developed “to overcome limitations in existing work-stress assessment tools in India.”
What is TAWS-16? The Tool to Assess and classify Work Stress (TAWS-16) is essentially a 5-minute questionnaire that assesses work stressors, how the person copes with said stressors, and any effect this stress has on their life.
The questionnaire takes into account the contribution of the employee in the company, their day-to-day tasks, and the work culture.
The most commonly observed work stressors, the study noted, are:
Low job security
Excessive work demand
Lack of job control
Low organisational support
Strained interpersonal relationships at work
Role conflict or role ambiguity
Stressed out: According to the study, 5-51 percent of those who work in the IT sector show a prevalence of work stress, with this percentage increasing to 55 for those in senior or managerial roles.
Not just taking a toll on the person’s mental health, work stress is also associated with non-communicable diseases, a decrease in the person’s productivity at the office, workplace injuries, and “mental morbidity.”
Speaking to Deccan Herald earlier this week, Dr Gautham Melur Sukumar, Centre of Public Health at NIMHANS, said,
“Some stress is necessary for good performance. But harmful work stress is linked to many non-communicable diseases (NCDs), like hypertension, diabetes and mental disorders. NCDs are a major burden in India now, and a significant section of those affected are workers.”
Is it already in use? NIMHANS has made the tool available for free as a website and as a mobile application, and it has been tested by 10 organisations in the country.
The next step: The writers of the study suggest that TAWS-16 be used by employers to change their policy to benefit the employees further and make it a part of their annual health check-up.
The authors of the study said, “TAWS– 16 has scope for integration into existing Periodical Medical Examination (PME) and its inclusion in PME will make PME more comprehensive and help to better understand associations between work-stress levels with the biochemical and metabolic parameters of NCDs and NCD risk factors.”
"Employees’ health is seen as a drain on the company’s resources, but it has a huge impact on productivity. So it should instead be seen as part of the company’s bottom line. Also, employees leaving on grounds of stress is common problem managers face. The tool can help identify any company rule that’s causing employees stress, and correct it."Dr Gautham to Deccan Herald