Stress is a psychological effect that individuals face at some point. Organizations’ employees are usually susceptible to this problem which negatively impact their general performance and that of the company. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has a significant impact on the employees, resulting in stress. It has created new sources of stress, which include physical, social and financial stress. Stress affects their mental well-being when ignored as the stressors are pervasive. The pandemic has inflicted a significant challenge on employees in various areas. Many employees suffer from stress issues driven by organizational needs during the pandemic, making it challenging to handle work issues hence the need for potential intervention techniques.
The potential intervention techniques that can be used to handle stress among employees are grouped into two. The first set of techniques focus on individual stress management approaches, and the second focuses on organizational intervention strategies. Most employees normally resolve to panic as the initial approach, letting their emotions drive their behavior. Despite stress being challenging to handle, there are various practices that an individual can use to enable them handle such situations (Bansal, 2018). It is imperative for the individual to begin by identifying the factors and aspects resulting in stress within the organization. This factors includes inadequate social support, reduced personal control, expanded requirements such as demand, and a lack of constructive relationships.
Individual Stress Management Approaches
It is usually challenging to accurately spot the stressors that affect one’s well-being. During high stress, one’s mental performance is distorted because it interferes with the ability to focus, problem-solving skills, and accuracy of thoughts. Therefore, it is prudent to check on the previous causes of stress to identify the principal elements that result in such events. Furthermore, one needs to gain insights into the causes as it provides knowledge that will help handle the same occurrences (Bhowmick, 2020). Identifying the root cause of stress helps one identify solutions that will help reduce the chance of being exposed to the same stressor. Employees can begin by developing emotional and cognitive shifts that help create bypassing strategies that promote stress management. The strategies can be developed through counseling or by implementing self-driven actions that alter one behavioral response. The effect is gradual, but after some time, stress is reduced to manageable levels.
Working on things that one enjoys, getting involved with distraction techniques, nature walks, and relaxation activities are imperative for handling stress. Tackling lesser stressors provides the employees with the required practice to overcome large stressors. It enables one to develop resilience which is significant in managing stress (Chaudhry et al., 2022). Resilience helps in practicing specific behavioral responses and discard those that are no longer useful with time. Individuals tend to keep practices that outfit their abilities, mindset, and personality to fight against stressors.
Other significant practices such as self-efficacy, social attachment, physical exercises, time management, and avoiding certain habits are crucial in stress management. Self-efficacy is a considerable measure in the management of stress. Individuals who are competent and able to face pressure have a higher chance of handling the problem. Attitude determines success as one has to be optimistic to achieve positive results (Hamouche, 2020). Social attachment plays a significant role in developing self-efficacy and practices that help one handle stress. This is because an individual can gain insights into their problem by engaging in chats and other refreshing activities with others. Physical exercise helps one reduce mental pressure, thereby promoting wellness. Time management enables one to utilize time effectively by being organized since it reduces stressors such as work pressure (Hamouche, 2020). Furthermore, time management enables one to avoid unnecessary workloads that result in stress. Avoiding certain behaviors such as alcoholism, smoking, and other drugs that provide temporary stress escape enables one to have a clear mind. It prevents interdependence on such drugs, thereby promoting the individual’s mental strength and belief when handling stress.
Organizational Intervention Strategies
The organization has a significant role in helping the employees handle the stress. The stressors affect the organization’s position in the market as human capital is the most vital resource in most business organizations. This makes it crucial for organizations to develop suitable methods to handle stress challenges. There are various techniques that the organization can use to manage stress, and these include demand management, collateral programs, stress management and reduction program, work-life balance, handling workload, and role clarity. It is essential for the organization to identify the increased demand the employees face and make efforts to handle or reduce such demands (Livingstone, 2020). Demand such as work from home during the pandemic can be a stressor when enacted suddenly. Working from home has a significant impact that may be disregarded because it was not volunteered for by the employees. Humans have antipathy when it comes to doing what one is told, especially when certain things become deprived.
Working from home has brought about an attitude that influences the employees’ experience. The drag of attitude negatively affects the motivation of working from home. Additionally, many employees perceived the situation as a temporary issue and thus created an unsustainable environment for work. Also, the need for change has created significant stress as employees find difficulty adjusting to the new work guidelines. The close connection between the family members and the need for working space has geared the development of stress (Sev, 2017). The organization can handle the demand of a new working environment by creating various work shifts among employees to reduce the technical demands, task management challenges. Also, employee distribution of organizational resources is crucial in handling such problems. Additionally, distributing work equally and providing short breaks during the working time also reduces stress. Handling the work demand can be achieved through providing employees with some management control over their time, increased support on challenging tasks, and quick attendance on the arising issues.
Setting up collateral stress management programs is vital in handling stress among the employees. Collateral programs have been specifically designed to ensure the well-being of the employees. These programs include health programs, stress management programs, counseling, and career development programs. The programs have proven beneficial as they handle various aspects that cause stress (Livingstone, 2020). For example, during this pandemic, many employees are troubled with job safety issues as most organizations are laying off employees because of the reduced work levels and performance. This subjects employees to various levels of stress as most of them work in fear of not knowing whether they can be maintained or dropped; hence they work under pressure leading to stress that impacts their productivity. Career development programs help assure employees’ job safety as they improve their performance, thus promoting their value. It enables the employees to develop a sense of responsibility and belief to help them face work challenges. Furthermore, the integration of the collateral programs is essential in promoting their well-being in many areas.
The introduction of a stress management and reduction program provides an efficient working environment among the employees. The organization should frequently review these programs by involving external experts in handling employees’ stress issues. Employees may find it easy to share the problems they are experiencing with the experts, which paves the way for significant interventions. The goal of this program is recognition and identification of organizational stressors that affect their performance (Hamouche, 2020). Furthermore, the program is crucial in training the employees on effective methods of handling stress. The program varies from one organization to another depending on the type of industry that the company performs, as some tend to be more stressful than others. However, despite the variation in the type of industries, these programs have the same target; promoting well-being by reducing and eliminating stressors.
Educating the employees on handling the work-life balance helps manage stress in the organization. Workload and personal life management are significant issues that result in stress among the employees. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the workload in both areas, affecting the employees’ well-being. Many employees get stuck on how to handle the two issues as restrictions and regulations have made life difficult both at home and at work (Hamouche, 2020). This has brought the need for organizations to identify ways to help their employees manage these issues to prevent burnout at the workplace and home. Companies have developed training programs and activities that enable the employees to handle tasks much more efficiently and effectively. Furthermore, organizations provide employees with free time during the work period to handle personal work.
Handling workloads among employees help handle stress issues. Organizations with high standards above the employees’ ability result in workloads that promotes stress development as it creates fear of non-performance. Currently, organizations are implementing work distribution and sharing to reduce workload levels (Bhowmick, 2020). The two strategies promotes employee well-being and productivity as it enhances teamwork among employees. Setting goals that are attainable enable them to work effectively and get motivated. Role clarity creates stress among the employees because of not clearly understand what they are required to perform. Therefore, the organization must clarify employees’ roles, performance standards, and responsibilities (Bansal, 2018). Organizations should use the role analysis technique that analyzes the job and the expectations. It also enables job breakdown into various components that promote work sharing.
Stress is a significant issue that requires intervention in an organization. This is because stress has various negative impacts that affect employees’ performance. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly promoted stress levels among employees because of multiple issues, such as employee layoffs in most organizations. Interventions methods are grouped into individual-based interventions and organizational-based interventions. The individual-based interventions are based on understanding the stressors and gaining insights on activities that promote managing stress which can be aided through counseling. Practices include self-efficacy, social attachment, physical exercises, time management, and avoiding certain habits. Organizational intervention focus on improving individual and the organization. These interventions include handling demand, setting up of collateral stress management program, work-life balance, workload management, and role clarity.
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