Workplace Interventions for Stress Reduction

Workplace stress is preventable, and identifying the potential sources of stress to employees in an organization is the first step in addressing them. Effective interventions for reducing workplace stress can be classified as primary, secondary, and tertiary.

Primary interventions involve proactive measures to prevent stress by removing or reducing potential stressors. This level of intervention focuses on the sources of physical and psychosocial stress in the workplace. Examples of primary interventions include:

  • Redesigning the work environment
  • Providing breaks for employees
  • Increasing employee participation in decision making and work planning
  • Increasing time and resources for completing specific job tasks
  • Matching job description with employee skills and qualifications
  • Creating clear promotion and reward pathways
  • Eliminating physical hazards
  • Substituting with safer equipment and technology
  • Establishing control measures to reduce worker’s exposure to occupational hazards
  • Promoting the use of personal protective equipment

Secondary interventions are corrective and are focused on altering the ways workers perceive and respond to stressors. These interventions aim at improving worker’s ability to cope with stress and detect stress-induced symptoms early. Examples of secondary interventions include:

  • Training and education of employees
  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy training for workers
  • Routine health surveillance – screening for high blood pressure and stress symptoms

Tertiary interventions are forms of control at the level of the illness. These are initiated for workers who are already experiencing stress. Tertiary interventions involve providing treatment, compensation plans, rehabilitation programs, and return to work programs for affected workers. Tertiary interventions include:

  • Providing medical care and employee assistance programs to affected workers
  • Return-to-work plans including modification and redesign of work

Workplace stress is a silent and oft-neglected factor that impairs employee health and productivity. It affects the workers and contributes significantly to a decline in a company’s overall success. Employers should begin to tackle this problematic concern to create a healthier, safer, and more productive work atmosphere.

 

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