The Role of Workplace Health Promotion in Addressing Job Stress

Job stress can lead to poor health and even injury. Employees suffering from stressful working conditions can experience increased absenteeism, tardiness, and intentions to quit their jobs – all of which have a negative affect on an employer’s bottom line. The enormous direct and indirect costs associated with job stress suggest that worksite wellness initiatives designed to prevent and/or reduce employee stress should be considered as part of a comprehensive wellness initiative.

So what is job stress? Job stress can be defined as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources or needs of the worker.

So what are some causes of stress at work?

  1. The demands made on employees;
  2. The level of control workers have over completing their duties;
  3. The amount of support staff receive from their managers;
  4. The clarity of an employee’s role in their organization; and
  5. The nature of relationships at work.

What can employers do to reduce workplace stress?

When addressing job stress its best to use a combination of organizational change and stress management to prevent stress at work. This includes incorporating changes to the work environment to help help employees feel more satisfied and in control.

Here are some examples of what employers can do to reduce stress in the workplace:

  • Have regular check-ins with employees to ensure that the workload is in line with workers’ capabilities and resources.
  • Design jobs to provide meaning, stimulation, and opportunities for workers to use and grow their skills.
  • Clearly define workers’ roles and responsibilities.
  • Give workers opportunities to participate in decisions and actions affecting their jobs.
  • Increase transparency and improve communications around career development and future employment prospects.
  • Provide opportunities for social interaction among workers.
  • Establish work schedules that are compatible with demands and responsibilities outside the job.
  • Implement a flextime policy that supports a culture of workplace flexibility.
  • Establish a dedicated room/space for rest, relaxation, meditation and other stress reduction techniques.
  • Provide mentoring opportunities for employees.

For additional resources and tools, visit the Healthy Workplaces Toolbox and attend an upcoming free, Expert Series webinar on “Stress at Work”!