12 Proven Strategies for Reducing Work Stress

Stress management is not just a personal responsibility it is also a corporate responsibility. Corporate stress management is expressed in the development and promotion of a culture that consists of, but is not limited to, these 12 strategies:

1. Staff know what is expected of them and have clear directions and goals;

2. Employees are provided with good technologies, equipment and tools that enable them to work productively and efficiently;

3. The talents of employees are fully utilized. Employees who feel their talents or skills are wasted will seek work elsewhere. Employers should regularly survey their staff to confirm that talents are being used;

4. Employees receive timely praise and appropriate recognition for good work. This needs to be done regularly and appropriately;

5. Staff feel that someone cares about them at a personal level. This strategy is expressed in practical ways when landmarks are reached and celebrated (birthdays, new child, wedding etc.) and also by making sure that employees are not injuring themselves physically or psychologically in the workplace. Caring at a personal level requires the establishment of good policies and procedures that promote duty of care;

6. The culture of the organisation promotes personal development. Personal development training should be part of a broader agenda for leadership development. The Institute of Administration at the University of NSW provided leadership and personal development training to business leaders for many years and the emphasis was on the development of the whole person. Unfortunately the University closed the Institute in favour of academic courses;

7. Employees feel that their ideas and opinions count and they are encouraged to be innovative, creative and experimental in the pursuit of new ideas. Google Inc. is a world leader in promoting innovation and people who work there are encouraged to experiment, innovate and take risks in the development of products that are aligned to the vision of the organisation;

8. The organisation has a clearly defined vision which is reflected in corporate branding, culture and attitudes. Work objectives are aligned to the vision and staff have a clear understanding of where they are going and what is required of them;

9. The culture encourages good quality work. This is the opposite to an anything goes culture which does the minimum required to meet the work goals;

10. Employee friendships are encouraged and facilitated by regular social events that celebrate achievements and targets. Having a friend at work can often reduce work stress;

11. The progress of and personal development of staff is regularly assessed. Coaching sessions are arranged to correct shortfalls and a mentoring programme exists to promote excellence and leadership development;

12. The organisation encourages learning. Peter Senge defined the learning organisation in this way: “…organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together.”

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