Understand stress factors

Does my colleague feel stressed about a situation that does not bother me at all? Could work be shared more based on what different people feel stresses them? A simulation based on the stress factors defined in WHO Prima EF project helps you to figure it out!

Stress factors

This simulation helps in understanding team members in stressful situations. The exercise also promotes open discussion of stress factors within the team. The simulation deals with work-related stress factors, including work fragmentation, challenging social situations, and unclear division of labor. People experience the effect of these factors on stress levels differently. The story progresses through everyday situations and provides an opportunity for a facilitated discussion on team members’ experiences regarding different stress factors. In the background story of the simulation your team has been tasked with designing and executing your organisation’s development day. While planning, different problems begin to emerge from time pressure to communication problems. The exercise consists of ten situations. Your task is to choose who in your team would find the situation least stressful and would be the best person to solve the problem at hand. After each situation, there will be a discussion where the choices are explained and others’ views are heard. This will help in learning your colleagues’ views on different stress factors.


Who in your team does not mind if the work is monotonic?


Who in your team is least stressed by cooperation and interaction with different kinds of and sometimes quite challenging persons?


Who in your team can tolerate unclear division of labour?


Who in your team does not mind that they have a lot of fragmented things to do?

Research background

Psychosocial stress factors refer to factors relating to work content, arrangements or social functioning of the work community, that can cause a detrimental load on employees. If psychosocial stress factors are wrongly assessed, inadequately managed or occur in unsuitable circumstances, they may lead to detrimental work load. Typically load is formed by a combination of different factors. The situations in the simulation are based on a study on psychosocial stress factors conducted at the Finnish institute for Occupational Health and on the publication “European Framework for Psychosocial Risk Management (PRIMA-EF)” by the World Health Organization WHO.


  • Create mutual understanding on how different team members experience work-related stress factors
  • Bring out personal ways to react to stressful situations
  • Increase the effectiveness of team actions and increase team welfare through mutual understanding

For whom

  • Teams of 4-16 persons working together. The scenario deals with different burdensome situations, so it is most suited for teams that wish to understand team members’ behaviour in stressful situations. Also suits temporary teams, project teams, and remote teams.
  • The duration of the simulation is about 2 hours.