Making Changes in Your Workplace to Reduce Stress

This handout assumes a working knowledge of the relationship between occupational stress and both psychological and physical strain, including cardiovascular disease. We will also assume that you have identified some of the organizational costs of high stress levels to your workplace and employees. Another key assumption, is that you are interested in a change strategy that includes structural, or organizational change. The approach discussed in this handout views individual approaches as augmenting, not replacing organizational change. Finally, we will assume that you have the opportunity to improve the quality of work in your organization.
If these assumptions are correct, congratulations. You have already taken the first steps toward improving the health and possibly the productivity of your employees. This handout will detail this process of healthy organizational change. Basically, this handout has two goals:
1. Identifying the major features of healthy organizational change.
2. Developing organizational and individual change strategies.
We will also provide you with some examples of successful organizational change efforts. One general note is in order. This handout will not review various theoretical models of change. It is intended to be a concrete and practical guide for healthy organizational change. For a review of theoretical models and references for additional examples, you can refer to the companion piece to this handout, Interventions to Reduce Job Strain (Landsbergis, Cahill & Schnall, 1995).
Where to Start:
When you think about it, a serious organizational change effort has two important levels to it. The first is the content of the change and the second is the process of the change. In common sense terms, the content of change is what you want to do and the process is how you are going to do it. In practical terms, the process of the change effort is the more crucial aspect. The primary goal of any change process needs to reflect that overarching goal.
Making a Real Commitment to Stress Reduction
Probably the most important step in healthy organizational change is to make a serious and sustained commitment to it. In non-unionized workplaces, this commitment should be made by top management. In unionized workplaces, both top management and union representatives need to be involved.
Healthy organizational change takes time. Lots of time. No serious change effort should be initiated with a time frame limited to weeks or a few months. Read more...

No comments: