Diagnosing and alleviating stress in the workplace: theory and practice
Organizations are becoming more aware of the relationship between employee wellness and proactivity, with one estimate suggesting job stress costs US businesses over 300 billion annually. The response has been a rise of OD interventions such as fitness, wellness and stress management programs whose goals include individual well-being or wellness. Health is an important subcomponent of wellness as well as a cost for organizations.
Diagnosis of stress in the workplace can be diagnosed as he function of: physical environment, individual factors, group factors and organizational factors. Stress from all four dimensions lead to a variety of negative consequences for individuals as well as the organization. These consequences have personal organizational and monetary costs. The results in typical OD interventions include programs to improve things like: job clarification, supportive relationships, stress inoculation training, health facilities and employee assistance programs as outlined in figure 19.2.
Preliminary evidence suggests that fitness programs help reduce absenteeism and improve health as well as better mental health and resistance to stress. This remains an area where additional research is needed to pinpoint cause-and-effect relationships between programs and results but it’s clearly an area of great interest and potential.
Our college is leading the way for the Army when it comes to identifying total soldier fitness programs. The wellness program is the single dominant program which can allow officers to miss class without question. We have mandated physical and mental wellness checks and are looking at pushing this down to the Captains career course so that we get the benefit of establishing baselines and the development of stress management skills earlier in their career.
The latest topic that is on everyone’s mind is the nature of posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD where we are having difficulty in convincing the culture that this is a biological fact and an injury every bit as debilitating as a gunshot one. There are lingering superstitions and outdated cultural values related to manliness, courage and soldierly virtues which inhibit people from seeking the help they need and receiving the support from their peer groups.
This is an issue that is number one on the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army‘s agenda and he made a special trip to our college to lay out the nature of the issue so that our officers can take good information in proper values back to the units after graduation.
I have personal experience in using biofeedback devices as the Freeze framer from the Heart Math Institute and the Jewel stone from the Wild Divine group, which I believe offer effective means of bio feedback stress control which can be learned pretty quickly by kids and adults.
Cummings, Thomas, G. & Worley, Christopher, G. (2009) Organization Development & Change. 5191 Natorp Blvd. Mason, OH 45050 South-West Cengage Learning
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