ICTD International Centre for Training and Development

Dealing Proactively to Workplace Stress

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About the course

We hear a lot about stress, but what is it? Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary defines stress as "the result produced when a structure, system or organism is acted upon by forces that disrupt equilibrium or produce strain". In simpler terms, stress is the result of any emotional, physical, social, economic, or other factors that require a response or change. It is generally believed that some stress is okay (sometimes referred to as "challenge “or "positive stress") but when stress occurs in amounts that you cannot handle, both mental and physical changes may occur.

"Workplace stress" then is the harmful physical and emotional responses that can happen when there is a conflict between job demands on the employee and the amount of control an employee has over meeting these demands. In general, the combination of high demands in a job and a low amount of control over the situation can lead to stress.

Stress in the workplace can have many origins or come from one single event. It can impact on both employees and employers alike.

Course Objectives

  • Treat all employees in a fair and respectful manner.
  • Take stress seriously and be understanding to staff under too much pressure.
  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms that a person may be having trouble coping with stress.
  • Involve employees in decision-making and allow for their input directly or through committees, etc.
  • Encourage managers to have an understanding attitude and to be proactive by looking for signs of stress among their staff.
  • Provide workplace health and wellness programs that target the true source of the stress. The source of stress at work can be from any number of causes – safety, ergonomics, job demands, etc. Survey the employees and ask them for help identifying the actual cause.
  • Incorporate stress prevention or positive mental health promotion in policies or your corporate mission statement.
  • Make sure staff has the training, skills and resources they need.
  • Design jobs to allow for a balanced workload. Allow employees to have control over the tasks they do as much as possible.
  • Value and recognize individuals' results and skills.
  • Provide support. Be clear about job expectations.
  • Keep job demands reasonable by providing manageable deadlines, hours of work, and clear duties as well as work that is interesting and varied.

Course Outline

Sources of Stress

  • workload (overload and underload)
  • pace / variety / meaningfulness of work
  • autonomy (e.g., the ability to make your own decisions about our own job or about specific tasks)
  • shiftwork / hours of work
  • skills / abilities do not match job demands
  • lack of training and/or preparation (technical and social)
  • lack of appreciation
  • physical environment (noise, air quality, etc)
  • isolation at the workplace (emotional or working alone)

Role in the organization

  • role conflict (conflicting job demands, multiple supervisors/managers)
  • role ambiguity (lack of clarity about responsibilities, expectations, etc)
  • level of responsibility

Career development

  • under/over-promotion
  • job security (fear of redundancy either from economy, or a lack of tasks or work to do)
  • career development opportunities
  • overall job satisfaction

Relationships at work (Interpersonal)

  • supervisors (conflicts or lack of support)
  • coworkers (conflicts or lack of support)
  • subordinates
  • threat of violence, harassment, etc (threats to personal safety)
  • lack of trust
  • lack of systems in workplace available to report and deal with unacceptable behaviour

Organizational structure/climate

  • participation (or non-participation) in decision-making
  • management style
  • communication patterns (poor communication / information flow)
  • lack of systems in workplace available to respond to concerns
  • not engaging employees when undergoing organizational change
  • Lack of perceived fairness (who gets what when and the processes through which decisions are made). Feelings of unfairness magnify the effects of perceived stress on heal
  • You’ve got the tools, the talent: Techniques to handle any conflict

Course Methodology

A variety of methodologies will be used during the course that includes:

  • (30%) Based on Case Studies
  • (30%) Techniques
  • (30%) Role Play
  • (10%) Concepts
  • Pre-test and Post-test
  • Variety of Learning Methods
  • Lectures
  • Case Studies and Self Questionaires
  • Group Work
  • Discussion
  • Presentation

Who should attend

Anyone who feels that stress is interfering with their ability to reach their full career potential. Executives, managers, and supervisors who want to increase productivity by creating a less stressful work environment.

Course reviews

Downloadable files