Employer Intervention in Stress

There are no single approaches that an employer can adopt to prevent stress occurring at work. Regular assessment is worthwhile to monitor the risks, and the following steps are generally necessary to achieve low stress in workplaces.

Good Management
Good management should include openness and a sincere regard for all employees. There is nothing wrong with informing all your employees that they are paid to work and to work hard. Acknowledging this may be stressful from time to time and adopting a high profile for stress management, allows for earliest intervention and provides employees with a strong sense of control.

The Organization of Work
An ad hoc approach to work without clear targets and plans will either produce high stress or turn employees off. The work must be acknowledged by employees to be achievable and the employees must have the knowledge and skills necessary for the tasks. Targets are necessary together with clear policies, plans and recognition for achievement.

A Healthy Corporate Attitude
A healthy and fit workforce is more motivated and productive. Let all employees know that the organization takes fitness seriously and is committed to assisting any employee experiencing difficulties. Take the necessary steps to ensure that no employee feels guilty about being stressed and provide encouragement for them to seek assistance and relief.

Successfully Manage Change
Commitment to continuous improvement and increased access to information has required organizations to make changes more frequently in order to stay competitive and meet customer needs. Unfortunately people have not yet adjusted to the process of frequent and rapid change and often find the uncertainty of change stressful. The successful management of change includes employee involvement in the decision, the planning and the process of implementing change.

An Appropriate Management Style
Many employees do not come to work only for the income. They also look for stimulation, satisfaction and meaningful social contact. Employers have benefited considerably from this shift, however it needs a certain management style to retain a productive and interested workforce. Autocratic and bullying tactics are not tolerated. Employers need to demonstrate a genuine interest in their workforce without inconsistency or indifference.

In summary, then, to reduce or remove unnecessary stress, an employer could:
  • Ensure the confidence and competence of employees is not eroded;
  • Provide a consistent approach in management style;
  • Make sure to have good two-way communication;
  • Provide well-defined tasks with clear responsibilities and authority with adequate relief if the job is excessively monotonous or boring;
  • Use targets that are challenging but achievable;
  • Use flexible work schedules that are planned and agreed;
  • Define objects and advertise them widely;
  • Be prepared to negotiate adjustments if approached;
  • Treat people fairly, with equity and without bullying or harassment;
  • Ensure managers and supervisors do the same;
  • Provide positive feedback when appropriate.

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