Management of Work-Related Stress
Who is responsible for the management of work-related stress? While there are those who are convinced that the responsibility of lies primarily with the management of an organization, others are of the opinion that individual employees have the primary responsibility for managing work-related stress. In this text, I not only state but also substantiate my position on these .
The Management of Work Related Stress
In basic terms, “stress is the experience of opportunities or threats that people perceive as important and also perceive they might not be able to handle or deal with effectively” (George & Jones, 2010, p. 245). It is important to note from the onset that although stress related to work is somewhat normal, excessive stress on this front could be counterproductive. This is more so the case in those instances where it affects both the emotional and the physical health and well-being of employees. In that regard therefore, the relevance of handling work related stress appropriately cannot be overstated.
Both individual employees and the organization have a certain degree of responsibility when it comes to the management of work-related stress. It is however important to note that to a large extent, it is the organization that is primarily responsible for the management of work-related stress. Those central to not only the prevention but also the minimization of stress at the workplace include but they are not limited to the human resource managers, supervisors, and line managers. These individuals should ideally work closely with the relevant departments such as the Health and Safety department in an attempt to ensure that work-related stress does not interfere with the employees’ effective execution of duties and responsibilities. On this front, it is the holders of the offices mentioned above that are in a better position to investigate and eliminate the key triggers of stress at the workplace. This is more so the case given that in a study conducted several years ago, pressure deadlines, work overload, and threats of job loss were the most common sources of stress (Hawkins, 2003). It is also the aforementioned departments that have the resources and knowhow to develop and implement the most appropriate stress management policies and measures, embrace management standards that are likely to , etc. Essentially, the organization should also acquaint itself with workers’ non-work-related sources of stress. This is more so the case given that “an employer’s awareness of the employee’s non-work-related stressors and problems facilitates good management” (Hawkins, 2003, p. 216).
As I have already pointed out elsewhere in this text, employees also have a role to play, albeit a secondary one, in the management of work-related stress. In that regard, employees must ensure that they are actively involved in organizational initiatives whose key goal is stress management. The said employees must also ensure that stressful situations/sources of stress at work are reported to the relevant departments. It should be noted that the organization cannot take any action if it is not aware of a specific source of stress. With that in mind, the move by employees to report possible sources of stress could come in handy in the identification of underlying problems and the subsequent formulation of the most appropriate strategies to tackle the problem. The relevance of being supportive of fellow employees undergoing stressful situations cannot also be overstated. As George & Jones (2010) observe, social support most particularly from friends and family is an important means of coping with stress.
To ensure that work-related stress is contained, the organization (via its various departments) should not only develop stress management policies but also closely monitor the said policies and procedures. This way, deviations from desired objectives can be identified and addressed promptly.
George, J.M. & Jones, G.R. (2010). Understanding and Managing Organizational Behavior (6th ed.). New York: PH Professional Business.
Hawkins, L. (Ed.). (2003). Tolley’s Guide to Managing Employee Health. Ohio: LexisNexis Group.