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BAuA's contribution to the Mental Health Offensive

The German Federal Government has launched a Mental Health Offensive intended to improve the handling of mental health issues in society and the workplace. As a departmental research institution within the jurisdiction of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) is one of the first organisations to be involved in the Offensive. Other participants include the Federal Family Ministry, the Federal Health Ministry, pension funds, occupational accident insurance providers, and self-help organisations. There are plans to develop a comprehensive strategy, under which labour market, occupational safety and health, and family policies will be closely coordinated. BAuA intends to contribute to these efforts by supplying research findings and making information available about preventive work design in a range of fields.

Job Control at Work

The job characteristic "job control" comprises the employee's possibilities to influence how they organize and perform their tasks. This is of central significance for mental health. Numerous studies have shown that too little job control is associated with several health impairments.

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Rest Breaks and Recovery

Recovery serves to restore depleted resources of physical and mental energy. It is essential to reduce the negative effects of heavy workloads.

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Work Intensity

The contemporary world of work confronts employees with various demands that are intensifying "traditional" forms of mental load or giving rise to new forms as well. Information overload and time and performance pressure are significant issues that are relevant to employees’ health, which have to be addressed by both organisations and individuals.

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Working Time

Working outside the "normal" hours of the standard working day can impact on employees' mental and physical health over the short and long term. Work rosters should therefore allow individuals enough convenient free time for them to recover and sleep, enjoy family life and pursue other interests.

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Leadership and Collaborative Working

The impact of managers' leadership style and their power to shape working conditions give them a vital influence over employee health and well-being. Managers provide key resources, such as social support, which is particularly important in view of its stress-mitigating effects.

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People and Technology

The increasing digitalisation of work systems is opening up numerous opportunities for work design to offer employees context-sensitive support. Various issues require attention, including excessively tight technological coupling and the effects of monitoring.

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Returning to Work after a Mental Health Crisis

Reintegration into the workplace enables an employee to participate in working life again after suffering a mental health crisis. A return to work strategy that fits into the organisation's health management system, and trusting cooperation between the employee and the actors who are looking after them increase the probability of a sustainable return to the workplace.

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Workplace Risk Assessment

Unfavourable psychosocial working conditions, such as high levels of time pressure or long working hours, affect employees across all sectors and in organisations of all sizes. Organisations are called upon to proactively reduce such risks. Workplace risk assessment helps them to do this.

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