Modern work is mostly intellectual and is presented by activities such as communications, production, and content creation; a typical working day continues for about eight hours. Such loads may negatively impact the psychical and emotional state of the individual. It will reduce their work performance and life quality in general. In that way, stress reduction at the workplace is necessary to maintain the well-being of workers and ensure that they will remain productive.
To cope with stress and reduce it, one must first understand its sources in the workplace. The first and the most obvious source is the excessive amounts of work, which leads to overload and results in stress. Other stress sources are misunderstandings between employees and their managers: they feel uncomfortable and much less effective when they do not understand what they should do. While stress sources may be reduced, some stress is inevitable, as employees should perform various functions that eventually make them tired. Various facilities are designed and performed in many modern companies to cope with it.
Physical exercises and yoga are standard methods to reduce stress in general, as they help balance the mind and body. As mentioned, most modern work is intellectual and leads to burnout in the case of a large workload. Physical activity may be a kind of countermeasure to prevent it, which will help the mind rest and be free from excessive mental load. While the efficiency of simple physical exercises is controversial, the efficiency of yoga is well-known and proven (della Valle et al., 2020). The primary purpose of yoga is to search for an inner balance between the mind and body. Its methods are well-balanced physical exercises, such as stretching and taking specific poses. They are designed not only to train the body but to relax it and make it more consistent with the mind. In that way, it is one of the best methods to reduce mental overload and make oneself more productive.
Another point important for stress reduction is the employees’ familiarity with the company’s vision and mission. Understanding what and why they should do will make them much more motivated and less stressed (Aldana, 2022). While it is easy to keep employees familiar with its values, it will help them stay on track and make their work much more meaningful. Maintaining positive and well-established relationships between employees is crucial for any company, and it will lower the number of stress sources.
Psychotherapy is also a method for stress reduction, as it allows employees to understand themselves better and cope with their mental issues. Depression and apathy are often results of burnout when a person sees no sense in their work, and thus their effectiveness drops severely (Kriakous et al., 2020). Psychotherapy helps resolve those problems or reduce their intensity, making one’s mind more relaxed. In addition, it helps to improve mental health in general and make the personality stronger, getting rid of various psychical blocks, child traumas, and other issues that impair one’s well-being.
Various companies use these methods to help their employees perform well and without burnout. For example, Talking Rain Beverage Co., a beverage company based in Washington, provides rooms for meditation, yoga, gym, and hiking trails (Davis, 2018). All company employees are encouraged to use the facilities, as they help them maintain their well-being and make adequate breaks between their work times. In that way, they can train their body while making their minds rest. Another company, Chanje, focused on electric vehicle production, has a different strategy. It allows its employees to spend 20% of their work time on self-improvement, which they may use at their discretion. Thus, they are free to choose how they will spend that extra time; not only their working schedule is reduced, and they are loaded less, but they also have more freedom. All those methods are beneficial for both companies and employees, and they may have drawbacks only if they are not adequately designed. For example, when workers are not interested in facilities offered by the company.
From the benefits available at my previous place of employment, I remember a specific room where I may rest and even nap a bit when I was tired in the office. It is similar to the facilities of Talking Rain Beverage Co., and I was able to meditate there and then, refreshed, return to work. It was designed as a middle-sized room with soft mats where we might make yoga exercises to refresh. The purpose was to help us maintain a balance between mind a body and give us the ability to strengthen our bodies at work. No facilities for psychotherapy or yoga trainers were available in the workplace, but the company provided discounts for visiting the psychotherapist or yoga club when it was necessary. However, I did not need a psychotherapist; thus, I was comfortable with those present facilities.
One may specify two main types of compensation: money earned by employees in salary and various extra payments, and working benefits. Examples of them are social services and psychotherapy, aimed at improving the psychical state of workers and reducing their stress levels. Many workers choose them as they make them feel comfortable and increase their trust in the company. However, in my opinion, the first form of compensation is better, as an employee will be able to choose independently what they might do with their earned money. When a company provides benefits for employees, it forces them to act on its conditions, leaving them no free choice. For example, when a company offers free dinners, a typical working benefit, they may be inappropriate for all employees. On the other side, if the company pays a sum of money to employees instead, they will buy the goods they need.
To defend their rights, obtain more benefits, and organize a better life for themselves, employees unite in organizations. They are called labor unions and act to represent the collective will of employees in a particular workplace or industry (Kullgren, 2021). If workers’ rights are violated, for example, by low salaries, they may strike and stop working until their rights are restored. I think that labor unions are effective tools for employees who feel deeply connected with the company and share its values. As for me, I have never participated in labor unions, as I think that the benefits provided by them are not relevant to me. I prefer to find the most suitable workplace for me rather than participate in labor unions. However, I support the activity of unions in general and am ready to help them if necessary.
Stress reduction methods may be divided into two categories: those that prevent stress sources and those reducing its consequences. Examples of the first method are the effective organization of the work time, allowing employees to stress less. Yoga facilities and psychotherapy help cope with a bad mood, depression, apathy, and other bad consequences of working overload, making people happier and more productive. Two companies mentioned, Talking Rain Beverage Co. and Chanje, present two various concepts. The first one provides a set of facilities aimed at stress reduction and the second one allows employees to use a part of their work time for their purposes.
Aldana, S. (2022). 24 ways employers can manage stress at work. Employee Wellness Programs. Web.
Davis, K. (2018). The innovative ways these companies are managing employee stress. Fast Company. Web.
della Valle, E., Palermi, S., Aloe, I., Marcantonio, R., Spera, R., Montagnani, S., & Sirico, F. (2020). Effectiveness of workplace yoga interventions to reduce perceived stress in employees: A systematic review. Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology, 5(2), 33. Web.
Haque, A. U., & Oino, I. (2019). Managerial challenges for software house related to work, worker and workplace: Stress reduction and sustenance of human capital. Polish Journal of Management Studies, 19(1), 170–189. Web.
Kriakous, S. A., Elliott, K. A., Lamers, C., & Owen, R. (2020). The effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction on the psychological functioning of healthcare professionals: A systematic review. Mindfulness, 12(1), 1–28. Web.
Kullgren, B. (2021). U.S. labor unions are having a moment. Time. Web.