The HSE-gateway

Psychosocial working environment

The psychosocial working environment is a collective term that covers the interaction between people in a workplace, the work of the individual and its impact on the employee, organisational conditions and the culture of the organisation.

There are a number of conditions that can affect individuals’ health, well-being, creativity and performance. People vary, and what one person may consider a strain another may consider a challenge. It can be difficult to define objective criteria for what constitutes a good psychosocial working environment, but the following are generally important:

  • A balance between the demands and expectations made of a person and the stimulation and opportunities for learning on offer.
  • The opportunity for independence and control at work.
  • The social interaction within the working community.

A good working community is one of the three goals in the University of Bergen’s HSE Action Plan. Employees and students are expected to be involved in, and committed to, the development and care of their own working environment, and arrangements will be made to ensure this. Achieving the goals that have been set will require an effort from the whole university. UiB needs to work constantly over a period of time to develop and maintain a good psychosocial working environment at all levels. This work produces the best results when it is based on a broad level of participation from employees. The role of management is primarily to take the initiative, to structure and monitor the work process, and to provide legitimacy and support to the work.

Mapping of the psychosocial working environment

The psychosocial working environment is part of a complex interaction that has its own characteristic design at each individual workplace. Regular mapping of the psychosocial working environment is necessary in order to secure a good psychosocial working environment.

All units at UiB must map the psychosocial working environment in order to promote joint understanding and concord and to carry out measures. The HSE meeting is a mapping tool that is used annually to achieve a systematic development of the psychosocial working environment at UiB. All units also have to use ARK. ARK is a comprehensive research-based programme for carrying out working environment and working climate surveys in knowledge-intensive organisations, developed by UiO, UiB, UiT and NTNU.

Problems in the working environment

Problems that arise for individual members of staff or in the interaction between employees should be taken seriously and attempts made to resolve them at the lowest possible competent level. If you are unable to resolve a problem yourself, it should be taken up with your immediate line manager.

Managers are responsible for preventing and dealing with problems in the working environment. You can seek assistance from the HSE Section, Occupational Health Service and the Division of Human Resources, or ask your safety delegate or union representative for help.

The occupational health service

The occupational health service has a free and independent role in working environment issues, and can assist the management or employees with advice and guidance. Both managers and employees can contact the occupational health service independently, and all information will be treated confidentially and in accordance to applied regulations.