Here’s what HR must do to reduce workplace stress

first_img India Today Web Desk New DelhiJanuary 30, 2019UPDATED: January 31, 2019 10:19 IST Here’s what HR must do to reduce stress in the workplaceFrom the phase of Industry 1.0 to Industry 4.0, the corporate world has grown exponentially, and a lot of new industries have also emerged. With this, the workload increased and that led to a spike in the demand of workforce.There is pressure piling up due to tight work schedules. Employees are increasingly stressed out, eventually resulting in depression and loss in work productivity.A research conducted by SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) India in 2016 highlighted that disrespect at the workplace, lack of work-life balance, over time, inability to process constructive feedback from the manager, support from manager and participation avoidance are the major causes of stress at workplace. In such a scenario, stress management as a discipline has become an integral part of Human Resource Management. Stress at workplace – BasicsStress has been defined in many ways related to the different situation in one’s life under different circumstances, but the most relatable definition of stress is a feeling when work demands, work-life balance, and tension in relationships, exceed the resource potential. The tension that arises in any of the three domains – personal, social, and financial leads to stress. If stress is not managed in time, it may cause depression and notably bring health ailments.Over the period of time, stress has become a major part of human life because the sources of stress aren’t obvious and also the daily work-life situation demands resolution only by the affected one. Thus, the real solution to counter the pertaining problem is not to avoid stress beforehand, but to manage stress adroitly.advertisementAt the workplace, anyone can experience stress under different circumstances as everyone has different mental ability and stress handling capacity. The SHRM study also revealed that 80 per cent of employees in India are suffering from stress at the workplace, every 1 out of 2 employees suffer from anxiety and depression on a varied basis. This is true that everyone cannot fit in a single parameter when it comes to stress management. That’s a reason, it is the responsibility of the HR to handle the situation skillfully and help employees to manage stress.There has been a recent paradigm shift in the likeliness of employees volunteering for stress management programmes, where nearly 90 per cent of employees have shown interest for participation in such programmes.Stress- Cause, reaction and fallout When work demands exceed the capacity and capability of an individual, it leads to stress in the workplace. In cases, where companies load employees with an excess of work without weighing them on the scales of efficiency and capacity, lack of work-life balance, and disrespect at the workplace are the most common causes of stress in the corporateRight from undefined duties, key result area (KRA), and unrealistic goals to harassment, ill-treatment, or bullying at the workplace, are some of the major causes that result in stressThe most common reaction to stress is flight or fight. But any individual can neither avoid stress for long nor can fight against the odds alone. Despite being the common reactions, these options aren’t the right choice in the day to day work life situationsEven the ROI of organisations are adversely affected because of employees’ stress. As per the SHRM India study, the productivity losses across IT, Finance/Banking, and Travel and Hospitality because of stress reach to Rs 49.67 crore, 105.48 crore, and 10.5 crore respectivelyHealth deterioration, physical ailments, underperformance, absenteeism, reduced productivity, job quitting, et cetera are the major results of stress. The need of the hour is to have a planned approach to manage stress at the workplace in a practically effective manner. This is what makes the role of an HR even more crucial.Ways for HR manager to manage stress The HR managers need to follow a psychologically sound approach to manage stress. The three phases of stress management namely – Identification of stress, treatment of stress, and stress relieving mechanism for future, are essential for HR managers to understand and follow.They must also be in sync with the health and safety department of the organisation scheduling primary health checkups for employees time to time and arranging psychiatrists and counselors for counseling sessions if needed.In the complete stress management process, the first step should involve an analysis of the factors causing stress. This will not just help in employee retention and enhanced work performance but will also result in organisational development.The diagnostic phase plays an important part in stress management.The employees should also be encouraged to self-diagnose the stress causing reasons. That can involve simple techniques of analyzing the past day and observe easy signs of stress including a frequent headache, excessive sleep, weakness, and disorientation at work.advertisementApart from this, HR managers should also identify the change in individuals at the workplace and engage in conversations regarding the work-life balance and workflow efficiency. This is vital for the HR team to observe signs of social withdrawal amongst employees like not wanting to meet people, avoiding parties, and a constant feeling of being overwhelmed.The HR managers should encourage individuals to accept stressful situations as a part of self-awareness because that can greatly help in refocusing on the remedial measures. Today, with widespread awareness regarding stress, employees at the workplace aren’t hiding their feelings and coming to the forefront to their HR and management in anticipation of a proper solution.Following the psychological principles, the proposed solution for stress management can be action based, job-based or ritual based.Action based stress management: The advancements of technology can be really helpful for individuals fighting stress because they can manage their time efficiently using alarms and notification apps on their smartphones.Following a disciplined time routine can help get rid of stress to a great extent and that should also be the focal point of HR managers to assure that employees follow a time routine and undertake their work in a disciplined manner. The newly emerging mobile health apps are proving great benefits for health and wellness of the employees across industries.Today, mobile technology and telephonic assistance are rising as the most applicable technology driven assistance to address stress at an individual level with a share of 30.4 per cent and 24.5 per cent respectively.Job-based stress management: Prioritising tasks is another way to bust stress and come out with flying colors. HR team should responsibly hold seminars and workshops with employees and counsel them to identify and prioritize important tasks and accomplish their targets.Counseling is the most imperative aspect in the stress management for the HR, especially counseling at the right time because the resistance time of stress-fighting for employees, between the alarm (first) and exhaustion (final) phase of stress, can help derive the befitting stress management technique. In fact, employees are also advised to approach employee counselors or HRs to become aware of one’s own strengths and weaknesses.Ritual based stress management: The stated hobby in over 95 per cent of the resumes that HR managers receive gives a sign that those activities provide a break from routine to individuals and help them recharge for the work.Employees need to believe that he/she is singularly responsible for his/her health. Hobbies and rituals can play an important part in achieving the same and handle stress. Right from fun Fridays to sports activities at the workplace, these arrangements done by HRs will not just help employees at all hierarchy to interact but will reduce the causes of stress to a great level.Motivational activities, team building tasks, and interactive fun activities can also be fruitful in countering stress.advertisement(Authored article by Judy Manjlekar, India HR Director, TechnipFMC)Read: 7 steps to make your organisation a great place to workRead: How to deal with people who do not perform at workplaceGet real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byApoorva Anand Tags :Follow HR managersFollow Human ResourceFollow Society of Human Resource ManagementFollow HR Workplace Here’s what HR must do to reduce workplace stressA research conducted by SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) India in 2016 highlighted that disrespect at the workplace, lack of work-life balance, over time, inability to process constructive feedback from the manager, support from manager and participation avoidance are the major causes of stress at workplace.advertisement Nextlast_img read more

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UN confident of success at Copenhagen climate summit with US on board

19 November 2009With just 17 days left before the United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen, a top UN official today predicted success for a framework accord including specific reduction targets from the United States, the only hold-out among industrialized nations, with a formal treaty to follow within six months. “There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that it [Copenhagen] will yield a success,” the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Yvo de Boer, told a news conference in New York, saying President Barack Obama’s presence in the Danish capital “would make a huge difference.”As the three main points that must come out of Copenhagen, he cited individualized targets “in black and white” by industrialized States to reduce global warming greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, a list of actions by developing nations, and clear short- and long-term financing to support developing countries on both mitigation and adaptation.At an informal meeting of the General Assembly held today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, citing various emission and deforestation reduction targets announced recently by Indonesia, Russia, the Republic of Korea, Brazil, Japan and the European Union, also voiced confidence in reaching a deal in Copenhagen that sets the stage for a binding treaty as soon as possible in 2010.He put short-term financing from richer nations to the developing countries at $10 billion in fast-track funding annually over the next three years to jump-start low-emission growth, limit deforestation and finance immediate adaptation measures, while medium-term needs are estimated at $100 billion annually through 2020.Mr. de Boer told the Assembly that aggregate pledges made so far by industrialized countries for mid-term reductions fell short of the target of 20 to 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, which the scientific community calls necessary to avoid more disastrous change, adding: “Industrialized countries clearly need to raise their level of ambition.”Also, he said, without resolving the political issues of mitigation and finance, reaching agreement in Copenhagen would be impossible in the battle to curb climate change, with its impact already being felt in droughts, changed rainfall patterns and floods.General Assembly President Ali Treki told the same meeting that progress at Copenhagen is not optional – “it is imperative to our very survival.”He later added at a news conference that the world is now conscious of the dangers of climate change for everyone, not just the most vulnerable countries, and that it is in the interest of everyone to “achieve a good result” in Copenhagen.A numerical mid-term target and a commitment to financial support from the US are essential “and I believe it can be done,” Mr. de Boer added at his news conference.“I’ve seen some recent reports that say that Copenhagen has failed even before it starts and I must say that those reports are simply wrong.” He cited new commitments and pledges coming in “almost every day” from both industrialized and developing countries. The political leadership that so many heads of State and government promised at the September climate summit at UN Headquarters in New York “is alive, it is well and it will lead to success in Copenhagen,” he declared.“Rich countries must put at least $10 billion [for developing countries] on the table in Copenhagen to kick-start immediate action, and they must list what each individual country will provide and how funds will be raised to deliver very large, stable and predictable finance into the future without having to constantly renegotiate the commitments every few years.” The conference also needs to launch immediate action for international cooperation on the pressing needs to preserve and sustain forests, he said, noting: “If the lungs of the world collapse, the rest will die.”Finally, governments must agree in a tight deadline to finalize it all into a legal treaty, he added, “and that means no delay, no more long drawn-out process. For all this Copenhagen will be the turning point where talking about action stops and taking action begins.” Originally it had been hoped that the treaty could emerge at the conference, set to begin on 7 December.On financing for developing countries, Copenhagen must provide much more clarity as to who will be contributing what, “because another collective pledge that leaves unclear what individual shares of that pledge are doesn’t really help you very much,” stressed Mr. de Boer.Asked about the position of the US, which never ratified the 1997 emission reduction treaty known as the Kyoto Protocol, he replied: “I think that President Obama has shown incredible courage and leadership… He wants a strong domestic policy in this area not just because of climate change, but also because of issues of energy security and energy prices… he wants a deal in Copenhagen.”Mr. Obama was now focusing on health care and climate change will come up early next year, but “having said that, I am confident that the President of the United States can come to Copenhagen with a target and with a financial commitment,” he added. read more

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