Working environment

Psychosocial working environment

The psychosocial working environment affects your physical and mental health both positively and negatively. But what is a good psychosocial working environment? What are your rights as an employee, and what does IDA recommend if you are experiencing a poor working environment?

What is a good psychosocial work environment?

Your psychosocial working environment is the interaction between psychological and social conditions at the workplace. It concerns the work that you do, the framework for your work and your relationship with your manager and your colleagues. 

A good psychosocial working environment is, among other things: 

  • When there is a good balance between your tasks and the framework for solving them. 
  • When the work tasks are meaningful to you. 
  • When you have an influence on your work tasks. 
  • When you get support and recognition from your manager and your colleagues. 
  • When there is a safe dialogue where employees can be critical, come up with ideas and talk openly about challenges and mistakes without fear of being punished or humiliated. 
  • When you receive adequate information about upcoming changes and have an influence on them.

What are your rights in relation to the psychosocial work environment?

Psychosocial working environment is equated with physical working environment in Danish working environment legislation. This means that it is your manager's duty to ensure a healthy psychosocial working environment.  

If it becomes clear that your psychosocial working environment is lagging, after you have, for example, completed the workplace assessment (APV), your manager is obliged to draw up an action plan which, together with the staff, will solve the problems. For example, it must be clear who is responsible for what, as well as how the solution will be followed up. 

That is why it is important to complete your workplace assessment (APV)

Your occupational health and safety representative can help

You can discuss challenges related to the working environment at your workplace with your health and safety representative, if you have one. 

All workplaces with more than 9 employees have the right to an occupational health and safety representative (AMR), if there is one who will undertake the task.  

Companies with fewer than 9 employees can also have an AMR, but it is not a right.  

The employee-elected health and safety representative collaborates with the management to create a proper working environment.

AMR and TR: How they can help

How do I know if my psychosocial work environment is poor?

It is quite common to have doubts about one's psychosocial working environment.

Where issues with the physical working environment are clearly visible, it is more unclear when it comes to the psychosocial framework. In particular, one can have doubts if the colleagues do not seem to be bothered.

If you are in doubt as to whether your psychosocial working environment is ok, you may want to keep an eye out for these signs of a poor psychosocial working environment: 

  • You (or your colleagues) are often ill. 
  • You are more quiet and do not enjoy yourself at work. 
  • You or your colleagues complain and comment on everything in negative terms. 
  • Your mood changes: You become easily angry, tearful or irritated. 
  • You forget important information and find it harder to think clearly. 
  • You make more mistakes than usual. 
  • You have difficulties falling asleep at night. 
  • You find it difficult to relax when you have time off. 

What do I do if my working environment is poor?

The occupational health and safety legislation states unequivocally that you must not get sick from going to work.

What you can do if your working environment is bad depends on, among other things, the individual working environment problems and the culture that you have in the workplace.

IDA recommends that you do the following if your working environment is negative:

  • You talk to your colleagues, your union rep and your immediate manager about the problems. You can always ask your immediate manager for help in prioritizing your tasks. If your manager cannot help you right away, you have every right to be told why it is not possible to improve your working conditions.
  • You complete your APV so that your company can see where the working environment is lagging and do something about it. In this connection, your management will typically have to draw up an action plan with a view to improving the working environment. Both you and the Danish Working Environment Authority must be able to access that action plan.
  • If the above does not help, you can always contact the Danish Working Environment Authority's Call Centre.

Contact the Danish Working Environment Authority's Call Center,