t is better for everyone if stress can be prevented rather than managed. While stress may begin as an individual experience, problems in the workplace can be a major source of stress. Stress can have terrible consequences for organizations. There are many factors within the organisation which must be managed in order to maintain a stress free workplace. There are a number of organizational stress interventions which help to create a stress free workplace. It can take some time to set these interventions up but they will result in a drastic reduction in the number of stress related incidents.
Creating a stress free workplace
The following organizational stress interventions will help to create a stress free workplace:
1. Effective job design
Effective job design allows the employee to give 100% to the organisation while safeguarding their health and wellbeing. Important factors include:
- Working hours
- Shift patterns
- Rest breaks
2. Fair remuneration
Employees who do not feel that they are being adequately rewarded for their efforts are more likely to experience stress.
3. Effective Communication
Ambiguity and lack of communication can be a source of stress. Employees feel, and perform, better when they know the following:
- Their role
- The purpose of their role
- Their goals and objectives
- The organization’s goals and objectives
- How they are performing in relation to their goals
- How the organization is performing in relation to it’s goals
- To whom they can turn for help
Even in terms of bad news, clarity is far more helpful than ambiguity. In a stress free workplace, effective communication is key.
4. Clear employment policies and procedures
There are many unacceptable situations which may arise within an organization. Organizations must have clear policies which inform employees of their options and the support available, should these situations arise. These policies should include:
- Health and safety
- Anti-harassment and bullying
- Discipline procedures
- Grievance procedures
It is not enough to have these policies; they must be communicated, and made available, to all employees.
Consulting employees, before making the decisions which affect them, makes them feel like a valued member of the organization.
When employees perform beyond what is expected of them, recognition for their efforts allows them to feel appreciated.
7. Flexible and family friendly policies
Employees have many commitments both within and outside of the organization. Juggling these commitments can place a great deal of pressure on them. Flexible working arrangements can help them to balance their commitments, reducing the pressure. The end result is employees who are happy, healthy and committed to the organization.
8. Career development
Career development plans give employees the opportunity to sit down with their manager and design a path for their career which will help them to achieve their own goals. The plan may include training, education and taking on further responsibilities. When employees know where their career is going, they tend to be happier and more committed.
Hard-working employees need the opportunity to let their hair down and unwind. By providing social events, the organization offers opportunities for employees to meet, and strengthen bonds with, fellow employees whom they might not interact with on a regular basis.
Problems within the organization can lead to stress for employees. Many organizations only start their stress management activities once an employee has displayed the symptoms of stress. While these initiatives are important and effective; it is more effective to strive for a stress free workplace. Organizational stress interventions can be put in place to prevent many of these problems from arising. Implementing effective organizational stress interventions requires a lot of effort but once they are implemented, the organisation will have taking giant strides towards creating a stress free workplace.