SWEDEN: results of the 2019 working environment survey

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Six out of ten employees say their workload is far too heavy. This is one of the findings of the 2019 survey report on how employees experience their work environment. The adhoc Authority (Arbetsmiljö verket) conducted 7,000 telephone interviews between autumn 2019 and spring 2020 as part of its biennial surveys.

The Swedish Authority highlights the following data in particular:

  • 64% of the respondents feel that they have too much work and too much to do.
  • 23% feel they have jobs under pressure, with high demands and little autonomy in their work.
  • 19% say they have been exposed to air pollution for at least a quarter of their working time.
  • 72% believe they have interesting and challenging work.
  • 13% report having been exposed to violence or threats of violence at work at least once in the past year.
  • 11% of women and 2% of men report having been victims of sexual harassment at work in the past year. One in four young women were affected.

According to Erna Zelmin-Ekenhem, Director General of the Swedish Working Environment Authority, “The problems of stress and lack of autonomy are not new. But they are intensifying with the pandemic”. One in three employees in the health, care and education sectors – predominantly female – says their work is psychologically demanding. He/she is confronted with not being able to think about anything but work, not having time for lunch and not being able to influence the organization of work and when it should be done. These are all known stress factors that can lead to psychosocial problems.

“Nobody should have to get sick, get injured or die because of their work” says Erna Zelmin-Ekenhem. As far as workplace violence is concerned, “employers have a great responsibility to prevent vulnerable situations and to support employees” she continues.

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