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How to Reduce Workplace Stress on an Organizational Level



 

Organizations that want to succeed need to take care of their employees. This means tackling one of the greatest obstacles to employee well-being: workplace stress. Workplace stress happens when employees’ jobs demand more than they’re able to handle, such as when their abilities aren’t enough to handle the task or they don’t have the skills to cope effectively (Foy et al., 2019; Tran et al., 2020).

 

If work causes too much stress, then they’ll be less motivated and engaged in their work. The stress may not only make them less productive, but it may also take a toll on their mental health(Foy et al., 2019). It’s therefore important for organizations to do their part in reducing workplace stress and promoting their employees’ well-being.

 

Host Wellness and Mental Health Programs


These programs are not only great ways to teach and promote healthy practices, but they also show employees that they are valued. Organizations can host seminars or webinars to teach about stress and stress management, how to take care of oneself, and other health-related topics. They can also conduct exercises on stress-reduction techniques like meditation or mindfulnessexercises. Managers can also promote a healthy lifestyle through policies. For example, they can have rules against smoking or drugs, or a policy to allow them to walk around the office or step outside for a certain time to let them refresh themselves (Tran et al., 2020).

 

Other programs for mental health and wellness:

  • Have stretching sessions at the start of the day.

  • Provide counselling services and assistance programs (Tran et al., 2020).

  • Offer employee health benefits like insurance, medical coverage, and sick leaves.

 

Optimize Work Processes


Sometimes, the source of employees’ stress can come from the job itself. For example, the job has unnecessary tasks, there are procedures that are more complicated than they should be, or the workplace is disorganized. The management style and communication methods may also not be effective enough for employees and managers to work together. By optimizing the work processes, then the organization can work more effectively and efficiently, leading to less stress and strain from work (Lagrosen & Lagrosen et al.., 2020).

 

Ways to optimize work processes:

  • Conduct an organizational sacred cow hunt to identify unnecessary practices.

  • Have proper communication channels for employees to coordinate with each other.

  • Do a job analysis to find ways to make tasks more efficient.

 

Equip Employees with Resources to Perform Well


As stated earlier, employees become stressed if they don’t have the resources to cope with the job (Foy et al., 2019; Tran et al., 2020). These can be the tools they use like computers, software, or equipment, or innate characteristics like knowledge and expertise on the subject. Additionally, a successful employee may still fall behind if new tools are developed or new skills are required to improve performance. Organizations can offer the most that they can to ensure their employees are well-equipped to do their jobs.

 

Ways to equip employees:

  • Conduct employee trainings to teach new skills and improve current ones.

  • Lend employees the tools or equipment they need (ex. company laptop).

  • Educate employees on new developments and how they will affect current work processes.

 

Set Realistic Goals and Expectations


It’s normal for organizations to aim high and do lots of things, but if these goals are too high, then employees will be unmotivated rather than driven. Factors like a heavy workload, tight deadlines, and unrealistic expectations for employees can wear them thin and cause them stress (Tran et al., 2020). If they lack the control to handle these demands, then it can lead to other problems like fatigue and depression as well (Lagrosen &Lagrosen, 2020). Realistic goals and expectations can keep employees challenged and give the confidence that they can meet them.

 

How to set realistic goals and expectations:

  • Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound) goals.

  • Assess the needs and abilities of each employee and align them to the tasks.

  • Hold regular meetings to clearly outline goals and expectations and to discuss current projects.

 

Encourage Positive Relations Among Employees


Employees rarely work alone; thus, it’s important to foster positive relationships within the organization, whether it be between peers or between manager and subordinate. These relationships not only help the organization function effectively, but they also become sources of social support. Social support can protect and help against stressors of the workplace, and they can make one feel valued and cared for by their workmates (Lagrosen & Lagrosen, 2020; Foy et al., 2019).

 

Ways to encourage positive relations:

  • Host team buildings and informal gatherings like holiday events.

  • Have effective conflict management to resolve disputes between employees (Tran et al., 2020).

  • Treat each employee fairly and appreciate their roles in the organization.

 

Value Each Employee’s Participation


An employee’s participation does not only refer to their role as a worker, but also as a member of the organization. Employees need to feel valued for the work, which can be done by recognizing their efforts and commending them, so that they can be motivated and feel that they have a purpose in the organization. They also need to have a voice – meaning that they can openly speak their mind and have some influence on organizational matters – which can give employees more sense of control (Lagrosen & Lagrosen, 2020) and help build relationships. Organizations should encourage employees to participate – whether it be in projects, meetings, or events –, engage them in the decision-making, and value their opinions and input (Tran et al., 2020).

 

Other ways to encourage and value employee participation:

  • Foster a culture of honesty and openness to make employees comfortable enough to participate.

  • Value their achievements and loyalty through recognition.

  • Allow employees to submit feedback on organizational matters.

 

Organizations that want their employees to thrive need to ensure that their workplace is not a cause for unhealthy stress. By understanding employees’ sources of stress, implementing policies and programs to address them, and fostering a healthy work environment, organizations can do their part in reducing stress in their workplace.

 

We at Fidecita wish you the best in your mental health endeavors. Click here to know more about Fidecita HR Advisory’s Mental Health Care services.

 


References:

Foy, T., Dwyer, R. J., Nafarrete, R., Hammoud, M. S. S., & Rockett, P. (2019). Managing job performance, social support and work-life conflict to reduce workplace stress. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 68(6), 1018-1041. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPPM-03-2017-0061


Lagrosen, S., & Lagrosen, Y. (2020). Workplace stress and health – the connection to quality management. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 33(1-2), 113-126. https://doi.org/10.1080/14783363.2020.1807317


Tran, C. T. H., Tran, H. T. M., Nguyen, H. T. N., Mach, D.N., Phan, H. S. P., & Mujtaba, B. G. (2020). Stress management in the modern workplace and the role of human resource professionals. Business Ethics and Leadership, 4(2), 26-40. http://doi.org/10.21272/bel.4(2).26-40.2020

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