Many organizations are faced with stressful work environments within their daily operations. However, in order to keep the stressful environments from affecting performance and profitability, an organization has to take controlling and reduction of causes of stress seriously.
Among the causes of stressful work environments are issues related to the nature of work, the worker tasked with completion of the task, the manager overseeing the completion of the duties, and how the organization is wired in its operations (Weiten, Dunn & Hammer, 2009). In order to explore how an organization can deal with a stressful work environment, this paper takes the approach of looking at how an organization can mitigate stressful environments by focusing on managers and workers individually.
When it comes to resolving work related issues and complications that may impact on the general performance of an organization, the role of the management becomes very crucial. For one, managers are tasked with ensuring that employees perform their duties in a timely manner and that the work is of high quality. This usually means that managers are susceptible to stressful work environments in that they have to put in extra hours to go through what employees under them have done (Nelson & Quick, 2011).
This can be a daunting task if a manager is tasked with overseeing the performance of a lot of employees. For a company to deal with such a scenario, the management may have to reconsider the management structure that is in place. This is likely to include the creation of numerous supervisor positions to assist the line managers with base level oversight duties.
Managers are also often faced with lack of sufficient authority and autonomy in their operations. This is a cause of stress since organizational bureaucracy and red tape serve to undermine the way managers carry out their duties.
The stress comes from the fact that overreliance of the organization on top management to approve every decision that managers make results into a slow pace of performance (Weiten, Dunn & Hammer, 2009). It also makes managers weary of coming up with innovative ideas since they fear their decisions will be unfairly scrutinized and shot down.
The net result of such a scenario is that tense relationships between management become inevitable. The organization can opt to give managers more freedom in decision making by dividing responsibilities in management. In order to eliminate the stresses that are related to lack of upward mobility in a firm, an organization should promote managers who excel in their duties (Landy & Conte, 2010).
The biggest causes of stressful work environments for workers in any organization revolve around interpersonal work relationships and issues concerning their jobs. Interpersonal work relationships involve the interaction of workers and their immediate superiors, or interaction with colleagues.
Superiors are in most cases notorious for bullying employees by assigning impossible tasks or tasks that require more than the assigned time to complete (Hauge, Skogstad & Einarsen, 2007). In order to eliminate rampant cases of bullying, an organization can seek to assign its employees specific duties which they are required to perform. This can be done in the form of a performance contract in which an employee commits to certain tasks within a specified period.
This eliminates instances where superiors stress out employees by assigning duties which employees are not supposed to do. The management can alternatively look at organizational arrangements that eliminate instances of worker isolation. This, for instance, can be achieved by adapting an open office layout for workers performing the same tasks (Dewe, O’Driscoll & Cooper, 2010).
The organization can also look into means of encouraging employee output by recognizing and rewarding excellence (Landy & Conte, 2010). Many employees quote lack of growth opportunities in their workplaces as a major reason why they are not willing to put in extra efforts at work.
In order to ensure that rewarding performance does not come at the cost of impeding performance levels, an organization can put in place a multifaceted rewarding system (Dewe, O’Driscoll & Cooper, 2010). By doing this, the work environment ceases to be a ‘winner takes all’ in terms of promotion, which can negatively affect the output of those who do not perform like others. Organizations can also go a step further to ensure that their employees feel appreciated for what they do in the organization.
Conditions in a work environment can make or break an organization. This fact is especially true when stressful work environments are factored; therefore, organizations should be quick to mitigate the damages that such environments can cause. An organization can go about dealing with stressful work environments by tailoring approaches towards the management and employees.
By focusing on the management, the organization can benefit from sound management as a result of eliminating stress factors such as heavy workload and lack of autonomy in decision making. Focus on the staff, on the other hand, can eliminate stress factors such as bullying and isolation by taking up organizational changes such as performance contracting and open office layout.
Dewe, P., O’Driscoll, M. & Cooper, C. (2010). Coping with work stress: A review and critique. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Hauge, L., Skogstad, A. & Einarsen, S. (2007). Relationships between stressful work environments and bullying: Results of a large representative study. Work & Stress: An International Journal of Work, Health & Organizations, 21(3), 220-242.
Landy, F. & Conte, J. (2010). Work in the 21st century: An introduction to industrial and organizational psychology, 3rd Ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Nelson, D. & Quick, J. (2011). Organizational behavior: Science, the real world, and you, 8th Ed. Mason, OH: CENGAGE Learning.
Weiten, W., Dunn, D. & Hammer, E. (2009). Psychology applied to modern life: Adjustment in the 21st century, 10th Ed. Mason, OH: CENGAGE Learning.