In cooperation with employer and employee representatives TNO developed a model for workload. This model guides research and consultancy projects into the determinants and effects of workload and work related stress. Based on this model an approach is developed that is well used by companies in the Netherlands. It is also used by the Labour Inspectorate.
In addition to aggression, violence and bullying, the most important cause of work-related stress is workload pressure. In the model workload is described as an imbalance which manifests itself when an employee – over a period of time – is no longer able to meet the requirements of the job nor undertakes anything to alter this situation.
If an imbalance persists between the demands which are made on the employee (job requirements) and what he or she is able to offer in return (control options), this is seen as negative, because its impacts detrimentally his or her health. It’s also negative because the employee can no longer deliver the quality required. The causes of this imbalance lie in the content of the work, the context of the work, and the lack of control options.
The personal characteristics of an individual employee can help to redress the balance between job demands and control options, or conversely, upset the balance even more. These personal characteristics can equate to, for example, competences, personality traits, or the personal situation. Buffers (social support from supervisor or colleagues, availability of development possibilities) moderate the relationship between workload pressure and work-related stress.