Work-Life Balance and Workplace Stress Management

Psychology Issues

There are many issues that would tend to affect an individual’s performance, productivity, and engagement in the workplace. These issues would range from diversity issues to psychology-related problems, among other significant issues. As it would be observed, psychological issues form the largest part of the diverse issues affecting people in organisations. This category of workplace issues mainly comprises of matters that revolve around the entire human mind and its functions. There are various types of psychological problems that can affect humans in their work.

If left to persist, these issues can trigger serious implications on the overall performance and productivity of both individuals and organisations. For that reason, cases of psychology that have become the centre of medical concern and attention in many organisations should always be thoroughly addressed to avoid the impact of the many consequences associated with them. One of the major approaches that have been used to identify and address issues of psychology within organisations is the use of occupational psychologists. This paper observes the roles of occupational psychologists, as they would apply in resolving two different cases of psychological issues that are common in the workplace.

Maintaining a Work-Life Balance

There is no doubt that, we are living in a world where people are concerned about their jobs than their own personal lives. If anything, many people in the job environment are just striving for work-life effectiveness, and not work-life balance, which is of greater value and importance. Working to deliver the most desirable outcomes is a demanding element for every employee. However, it is very essential for people to ensure that the balance between their personal engagements and their job is well maintained. Poor balancing of work and life can result into many negative consequences for both individuals and organisations (Podsakoff & MacKenzie 2003). Some of the most common consequences of unhealthy job-life balance would include lost time with one’s loved ones and friends leading to disruption of relationships, workplace stress, fatigue owing to suffered abilities, and increased expectations as a result of added responsibilities. In an attempt to deal with psychology issues such as this one, many organisations have adopted the idea of employing occupational psychologists who play a significant role in ensuring that they benefit in the best ways from the work force.

Maintaining a work-life balance has become a big challenge for many people in the modern world. Work and occupational matters are said to have invaded people’s personal lives, thus making it difficult for them to find time for their loved ones, friends, and families (Beauregard & Henry 2009). These social goals, however, can easily be achieved through the help of occupational psychologists whose role in an organisation cannot be overestimated. Through the application of relevant practices and theories, occupational psychologists can play a significant role in helping individuals maintain a work-life balance. These people normally take part in crucial matters within organisations, such as in the creation of procedures and policies, among other key aspects of organisational structure. More importantly, occupational psychologists also help in solving problems that may tend to arise from the organisations, particularly in the human resource sector. In that case, these people will play a significant role in helping employees maintain a work-life balance using various approaches that would be relevant.

One of the major areas of occupational psychology in any organisation is performance management. In this case, the personnel in this distinguished discipline come up with techniques and assessments that can help to determine employee performance in their respective areas of accountability. Through this approach, it would be easy to detect signs of poor balancing of work and personal life, thus applying the necessary interventions to address the problems. Moreover, the professionals in the occupational psychology department can also develop effective time-management strategies for their organisations, to help employees achieve an equal balance between their work and personal engagements. Occupational psychologists can also help individuals to understand the elements of balance that would tend to influence their professional and personal lives.

Another key area of operation for occupational psychologists in an organisation is to help in the training of employees and in the development of new business skills within core units of the organisation (Sturges & Guest 2004). Through these approaches, employees will be certain of getting useful advice, knowledge, and understanding in regard with how they can balance their work responsibilities and their personal lives, both of which are important to them. Through the trainings, employees can interact freely with the occupational psychologists and be able to express all their concerns in the workplace, including the factors that contribute to poor balancing of work and life matters. More importantly, through this approach, workers can always feel free to speak up and raise their concerns whenever they feel that job demands and expectations are very tight for them. Because of this direct interaction, occupational psychologists will be able to figure out the problems affecting the problems, thus addressing them in the most appropriate manners to avoid the negative consequences associated with the issues.

Another role of occupational psychologists is to help workers develop crucial competencies that will help them do better in the organisation. In most cases, these competencies will be based on work-life balance practices and policies to help the employees understand the importance of giving equal attention to the two domains. Through these competence lessons, employees will be able to handle and manage the competing demands of their work and personal lives, thus finding it easy to maximise performance and satisfaction in these two different situations (Allen 2001). In this regard, workers will always find it easier to perform at their best both at work and at home.

In fact, work-life imbalances could result into serious implications within the workplace. Some of the most common effects here would include things such as poor performance, lack of motivation, increased absenteeism from work, stress and depression, mental health problems, and of course poor relationships with friends and loved ones, among other problems (Bulger , Matthews & Hoffman 2007). The presence of these problems and performance indicators within an organisation is likely to catch the attention of occupational psychologists, thus compelling them to take the necessary measures in addressing the issues appropriately. These measures can comprise of interventions such as giving professional support to workers and helping them realise healthy ways of balancing work demands and other personal engagements. Moreover, by offering relevant advice and counseling to the affected individuals, occupational psychologists can also play a significant role in helping employees cope with work-life balance issues.

As it is observed from this case, it is always a good idea for employees to maintain work-life balance to be able to manage the competing demands of the two domains. As it has been observed here, unhealthy balancing of work and personal life can contribute to disastrous outcomes in the workplace, thus leading to failures. On the other hand, maintenance of health balance between one’s work and their personal life is likely to generate many benefits to both individuals and organisations. In this regard, it is necessary for people to maintain an equal focus to their work and their personal lives as one way of improving their emotional and psychological wellbeing, and in promoting organisational health.

Coping with stress at work

Even though small amounts of stress are said to be necessary in a workplace, since they help employees focus well on their tasks, persistent stress can seriously interfere with one’s performance in their work. Workplace stress does not only affect one’s performance in work, but it also drains their physical energy, thus affecting their mental and physical health as well. According to a recent report by the American Institute of Stress, stress has become a common aspect in modern workplace. In fact, stress-related cases are said to cost the U.S. business industry hundreds of dollar billions in a year (Johnson, Cooper & Cartwright 2005). This great loss results from the effects of unhealthy coping behaviours that will include increased health costs, lowered productivity, the need to replace workers regularly, insurance compensations, and casualties. Workplace stress is caused by factors such as work-life imbalances, long working hours, uncertain job expectations, insecure working environments, heavy workload, and increased work pressure, among other things. Occupational psychology is a proven management tool that can play an effective role when it comes to the management of workplace stress.

Some of the common unhealthy behavioral aspects associated with stress at work include excessive drinking and smoking, inactivity, and poor diet and eating habits (Nikolaou & Tsaousis 2002). These unhealthy coping habits or strategies can further lead to serious physical, emotional, and psychological problems, thus interfering with a person’s capability in handling work and home responsibilities. In this case, there is a need for immediate intervention of occupational psychologists to help individuals cope with workplace stress, before it reaches an advanced stage where it is likely to trigger serious implications on their personal lives and work matters. Some of the healthy approaches that occupational psychologists can use to help employees manage workplace stress will include engagement of victims in constant meditation, regular exercises, and conversations about their work and families, among other interventions that are meant to relieve stress.

Another effective approach through which occupational psychologists can help in managing stress is through assessment and treatment of psychological cases as they arise from the workplace. Through regular assessment of employees and their performances, psychologists are able to determine the major causes of stress among the employees, thus working to target these specific causes using the most appropriate interventions. Some of the common interventions that can be applied here will include implementation of proactive approaches to minimise the threat of psychological harm and educating individuals on key aspects of their work that are likely to bring a negative impact on their psychological wellbeing. These interventions can play a key role in minimising stress-induced consequences in an organisation.

Professionals operating within this particular field of psychology are mostly concerned with the performances of employees at work, among other responsibilities. In this respect, they contribute largely to the assistance of the workers in an organisation to ensure that organisational success is realised. In order to attain these goals, occupational psychologists apply a number of strategies to execute their stress management tactics on the victims. One important approach would be to advice individuals in matters regarding stress management in the workplace. More importantly, these professionals are also known to play a key role in the designing of effective organisations or units in the workplace, and in that case, can help in the elimination of some of the common causes of stress in the workplace by designing tasks that fit people’s skills and capabilities. In situations whereby the source of the stress cannot be fixed, occupational psychologists can suggest a plan for effective stress reducers that would work for every employee (Avolio, Zhu & Koh 2004).

Obviously, workers do not like to cross limits that may cause their employers hold grudges against them in the workplace. In this regard, many employees would find it difficulty to express their ideas and suggestions in the workplace, and would therefore, choose to remain silent and continue securing their jobs, rather than speaking out and facing the sack. Being close to employees gives occupational psychologists an opportunity to understand employees’ needs and wants better than any other person in the organisation (Van der Klink, Blonk & Van 2001). In such circumstances, occupational psychologists can act as communication links between employers and their managers, thus facilitating positive changes and development in the work place, without causing any conflict between workers and their employers. More importantly, these professionals can also spot the root causes of stress in the workplace and pass information to relevant bodies, who will, in turn identify the issues and use the most appropriate interventions to address them.

Being conversant with various signs of stress portrayed by individuals in the workplace, occupational psychologists will easily tend to identify stressful situations whenever they spot them among the workers. This way, the professionals can opt to practice the idea of direct intervention that entails undertaking regular inspections on employees while at their work and cautioning them where necessary. For instance, in situations where employees work for long hours, the psychologists can intervene and emphasise on the importance of taking regular breaks from work (Cortina, Magley, Williams & Langhout 2001). More importantly, they can also advise on some less stressful tasks that employees can alternate with their stressful tasks to make their work less stressful. These less stressful tasks will include things such as breaking to have brief chats with colleagues, standing up and stretching body muscles a bit, and taking deep breaths to promote relaxation of the body.

As shown in this paper, feeling stressed at work is a habit that should be avoided at all costs, considering the many consequences it brings to individuals and organisations. These problems are likely to interfere with a victim’s social and occupational functioning, thus leading to negative consequences in the workplace such as devastating economical effects. In that case, the role of an occupational psychologist as discussed in this paper can be helpful in helping individuals cope with stressful situations at work.

References

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