Health and the Workplace (cont.)
In this Article
- What is job stress?
- What are the causes of job stress?
- Job stress and health
- Job stress, health, and productivity
- What can be done about job stress?
- How to change the organization to prevent job stress
- Preventing job stress: Getting started
- Steps toward prevention
Preventing job stress: Getting started
No standardized approaches or simple "how to" manuals exist for developing a stress prevention program. Program design and appropriate solutions will be influenced by several factors-the size and complexity of the organization, available resources, and especially the unique types of stress problems faced by the organization. In David's company, for example, the main problem is work overload. Theresa, on the other hand, is bothered by difficult interactions with the public and an inflexible work schedule.
Although it is not possible to give a universal prescription for preventing stress at work, it is possible to offer guidelines on the process of stress prevention in organizations. In all situations, the process for stress prevention programs involves three distinct steps: problem identification, intervention, and evaluation. These steps are outlined beginning on page 17. For this process to succeed, organizations need to be adequately prepared. At a minimum, preparation for a stress prevention program should include the following:
- Building general awareness about job stress (causes, costs, and
- Securing top management commitment and support for the program
- Incorporating employee input and involvement in all phases of the
- Establishing the technical capacity to conduct the program (e.g., specialized training for in-house staff or use of job stress consultants)
Bringing workers or workers and managers together in a committee or problem-solving group may be an especially useful approach for developing a stress prevention program. Research has shown these participatory efforts to be effective in dealing with ergonomic problems in the workplace, partly because they capitalize on workers' firsthand knowledge of hazards encountered in their jobs. However, when forming such working groups, care must be taken to be sure that they are in compliance with current labor laws.*
*The National Labor Relations Act may limit the form and structure of employee involvement in worker-management teams or groups. Employers should seek legal assistance if they are unsure of their responsibilities or obligations under the National Labor Relations Act.
Next: Steps toward prevention
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