2. • According to Dennis Jaffe people spend approximately
60% of their waking productive lives at work.
• This being a truth it means that work becomes a
significant factor in their stress level.
• Reducing workplace stress has taken on greater
urgency in the current economic climate where there is
the need to do more with less.
• Workplace stress is caused by factors at the
organizational, management and individual levels.
• It can have a negative impact on the health,
performance and behavior of employees in the
• It can cost the organization. Thus, workplace stress
needs to be managed effectively.
3. ORGANISATIONAL STRESSORS
Employers should become more aware of the factors that are most likely to
lead to excessive pressure and stress in the workplace. According to
McGonagle and Ronald (1990), problems identified most frequently by
employees as causing stress at work are:
• Poor communication
• Heavy targets and workloads
• Lack of involvement
• Insufficient resources
• Poor delegation
• Long working hours
• Lack of trust in management
• Rapid change
• Management style
• Conflicting priorities
• Lack of control
4. SIGNS OF STRESS:
The first signs that indicate individuals may be suffering from
excessive pressure or stress are changes in behaviour or
appearance (Lehrer et al., 2007). A guide on the kind of
changes is following:
• Declining/inconsistent performance
• Uncharacteristic errors
• Loss of control over work
• Loss of motivation/commitment
• Lapses in memory
• Increased time at work
• Undue sensitivity
• Over-reaction to problems
• Immature behavior
• Arriving late to work
• Leaving early
• Extended lunches
• Resigned attitude
• Reduced social contact
7. Other behaviours
• Out of character behaviour
• Difficulty in relaxing
• Increased consumption of alcohol
• Increased smoking
• Lack of interest in appearance
• Accidents at home or work
• Reckless driving
8. Physical signs
• Nervous stumbling speech
• Upset stomach
• Tension headaches
• Hand tremor
• Rapid weight gain or loss
9. • Workplace stress needs to be managed from
the following 3 levels,
1) organizational level
3) individual level
10. ORGANIZATIONAL STRATEGIES FOR
• Review organizational aims, objectives and
systems and ensure that they are realistic and
meet current changes.
• Make improving communications a priority.
Employees should be able to ask questions and
• Consult with employees. Give employees
opportunities to participate in decisions that
affect their jobs.
• Give employees meaningful and timely feedback
about their performance.
11. • Examine the organization’s reward systems. Recognize
employees for their work
• Provide opportunities for job enrichment and career
development. Provide training opportunities:
Induction; Specific Training, Time Management;
Assertiveness and Stress Awareness.
• Create a just and safe working environment.
• Establish counselling and advice systems through an
Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). Ensure that
employees know what support is available and how
and when to access it.
12. MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES FOR
• Line managers play a vital role in identifying and
managing stress within the organization. They are likely
to see the problems that cause stress first hand and
will often be the first point of contact when an
individual is feeling stressed.
• Present relevant information to keep staff informed
especially during periods of organizational uncertainty
and change by.
• Promote open discussion where staff should be able to
ask questions and get answers. Use conflict
management strategies, the most appropriate or a
mixture, depending on the circumstances.
13. • Help individuals set realistic goals and make
suggestions for doing the same thing differently.
Ensure that employees have the resources and
skills they need and offer opportunities for
learning and development.
• Recognize employee and team accomplishments.
• Treat employees with respect.
• Help to cultivate a friendly social climate by
providing opportunities for social interaction
among staff and establishing a zero-tolerance
policy for harassment.
14. PERSONAL/INDIVIDUAL STRATEGIES
FOR MANAGING STRESS
• Stress is specific to each individual.
• The individual is important in stress
• Therefore, individuals need to recognize and
analyse for themselves the signs and causes of
stress at work.
• Understanding one’s own personal sense of
stress is a necessary part of the process that
will enable coping mechanisms to develop.
15. • Improve time management skills by organizing
• Improve task management by prioritizing tasks,
breaking projects into small steps, delegating
responsibility and being willing to compromise.
• Improve emotional intelligence -the ability to
manage and use your emotions in positive and
• Communicate with others in ways that draw
people to you, overcome differences, repair
wounded feelings and defuse tension and stress.
16. • Break bad habits, negative thoughts and behavior
• Identify things that are working well, celebrate
successes and meet challenges with humour.
• Keep things in perspective. Find ways to balance
work and family life. Take care of yourself- eat
healthy, keep fit and sleep enough.
• In some situations, simply sharing your thoughts
and feelings with someone you trust can help
17. STRESS COUNSELLING AT WORK
• Counselling for stress at work aims to identify
the causes of an employee’s work-related
• When conducted in a private and judgment-
free environment, it can help the employee to
understand the cause of the stress, and find
steps to manage and reduce it.
18. THE BENEFITS OF STRESS
• Talking is a tried and tested method of
overcoming stress, anxiety or depression.
• Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) offers
employees an outlet for any negative thoughts
or feelings, which can reduce stress as well as
maintain their mental health.
19. Other benefits include:
• Better self-understanding: With the help of a
therapist, employees are able to better
understand themselves and find solutions to their
problems. This leads to an increase in self-
• More engaged workplace: While talking to a
therapist may not fully eliminate stress, it’s
proven to drastically reduce it. Employees may
find it easier to cope with, they’re also likely to be
happier and more engaged with their colleagues.
20. • Reduced absences and turnover: When staff
are less stressed they’re unlikely to take
extended time off work for mental health
• And because they’re aware you care about
their wellbeing, they’re also less likely to leave
your company for a competitor.