Stress is a natural part of everyday life — especially adult life in the workplace. However, the fact everyone undergoes some degree of stress does not mean that we shouldn’t do our best to combat stress.
Among other things, this is what human resource employees are supposed to strive towards — enabling everyone to be their best selves in the workplace, maintaining a balance that achieves top results. With that in mind, we’ll explore the nature of occupational stress and what human resource practices can be used to reduce it to manageable levels. Let’s proceed right into it.
We define any kind of stress as an unpredictable and unexpected bodily and neural response to change. It can happen during all kinds of situations and in almost every type of environment. Stress is pain produced by our own thoughts.
Translated into a workplace environment, this is the stress that usually stems from a discrepancy between the results that are expected out of an employee and the results they believe themselves capable of reaching.
When a company expects a lot out of its workers, as is the case in many high-value and stress-intensive sectors — a certain degree of nervousness is bound to happen. There are also factors that come into play here, such as unclear job roles and work objectives or varying types of bullying and harassment.
If there’s not a decent amount of stress management in your place of work, there are many detrimental effects that can follow. These include huge employee turnover, absenteeism, illnesses, and stress-triggered hair loss. Additionally, there’s bound to be underperformance among the employees if they’re dealing with high levels of stress; while certain individuals thrive in such conditions, they’re usually not the best thing for the average employee.
We will go over some of the things that can be done by human resources departments to reduce stress levels and deal with some of the problems in the workplace head-on. We’ll start with the wellness programs.
One of the basic tenets of human resource practices for the reduction of workplace stress is the implementation of new wellness programs. These are designed to help employees manage their personal lives and reduce stress both at home and in the workplace.
Such initiatives include so-called EAPs — short for employee assistance programs. EAPs include workshops where employees can learn to manage stress, but other ways of reducing stress as well. For instance, some HR managers opt for providing massage days and gym access in the workplace, as well as other kinds of fitness subsidies.
There are other amenities that can help with this, such as corporate cafeterias or services that help employees cut down on wasted time — like pharmacies or dry cleaners.
One of the things where human resource managers can help their employees is to ease their daily scheduling. For instance, allowing for more flexible work hours and arrangements is something that is bound to help employees feel less pressure in terms of work.
There are also practicalities related to work where HR can help reduce stress. For example, reaching work during their daily commute can be a huge difficulty for some people. In that case, providing job-sharing agreements and telecommuting options is always a good thing for the work-life balance of all employees.
In many cases, there are employees that can comfortably complete their work from home, and even become more productive than they would be in an office. If human resources enable them to have a remote position at least some of the time, this will translate into a far less stressful work environment for them.
One of the most important roles of human resources departments is to bridge the divide between lower-level employees who are stressed out and their higher-level managers. The HR department is there to handle both day-to-day stress and long-term stress indicators.
Well-prepared HR departments analyze all of the different stressors found in their particular place of work and try to cooperate with the appropriate managers to remove as many of them as possible. Significant feedback from employees is required to make this happen, as well as plenty of planning and organizing.
Every workplace has its policies that relate to workplace safety and general employee health. Unfortunately, some of these policies may have adverse effects on the employees in terms of stress. That’s why HR managers have an obligation to constantly review the policies that are in place, and change or remove them if need be. From the perspective of stress management, this is an important role of human resources in reducing workplace stress.
In workplaces that are prone to injuries, the question of whether the injured employees will receive decent compensation often looms over their heads. That’s why human resources managers have to make it simple for the employees to receive and claim their valid compensation.
First of all, HR must arrange a meeting with the lawyers that handle personal injuries. This meeting is supposed to ease the tension that comes with stress compensation. If someone who specializes in this actually runs the meeting, it’s much easier to gauge and handle how stressed out an employee is. The abovementioned lawyers are there to make sure that the company’s insurance provider provides appropriate compensation to the employee who’s been injured.
As you can see, the human resources department in any company plays a crucial role in managing and reducing employee stress — both work-related and external one. Still, this doesn’t happen if the HR department and its managers do not realize that this is an ongoing process that is a part of their job description. Raising awareness of the dangers of stress in the workplace is important precisely because of that. We hope this article was useful to you and that you have learned something new today. Make sure you are staying safe and have a good one, guys!