Assessing workload, strain and resources in the organization – an integrated perspective.
Jiménez, Paul; Dunkl, Anita; Kallus, Wolfgang K.
University of Graz, email@example.com
Assessing mental workload to reach healthy workplaces is an important goal we can find in the laws
of different European countries. In the line of different standards (e.g. the ISO 10075-3:2004), the
assessment of the workplace has to be done considering both objective workload and subjective
strain. However, assessing only risk factors leads to a one-sided view of the working environment. In
fact, to recognize if objective mental workload leads to subjective mental strain, the individuals’ and
the organization’s resources have to be identified as well. This integrated approach can further
ensure the development of sustainable and effective individual and organizational interventions in
In present study, 674 persons (a representative sample of the Austrian population) were asked about
their experience of workload, strain and recovery at work. Workload was measured with four
dimensions: 1) task demands, 2) negative working climate, 3) risky working environment and 4) bad
working structures and processes.
The results show that especially a negative working climate has a strong effect on subjective strain
and lower experience of recovery. Bad working structures and processes are found to have a strong
effect on experiences of strain (β= .21) but don’t show a significant effect on recovery. A risky
working environment at the other hand shows a moderate to low relationship with recovery, but not
with strain. The effect of demanding tasks on both strain and recovery are non-significant.
The findings suggest that different aspects of workload lead to a different experience of strain and
recovery. Regarding workplace interventions in occupational health, assessing the interaction
between workload, strain and recovery is essential. These results should further serve as a base for
developing specific interventions on individual and organizational level.