Stress @ Workplace

Stress @ Workplace

The global economic crisis of the last decades has caused major changes, resulting in organizational restructuring, increase in workload and working hours, more temporal contracts and job insecurity. Such new reality created important stressors, leading to lack of job satisfaction, burnout and negative emotional states such as stress, anxiety or depressive feelings, with a negative impact on the individual’s physical and mental health. As a consequence, companies suffer from high absenteeism and decrease in efficiency and productivity, whilst the health systems are overwhelmed with assisting the physical and psychological needs of the individuals.

The European Community has issued legislation that poses on employers the “duty to ensure the safety health of workers in every aspect related to work” (EU Framework Directive -89/391/EEC). However, most companies do not implement plans to promote health in the workplace because of several challenges. A SWOT analysis carried out in 11 European Countries (wellbeing.eu) indicates the obstacles to the promotion of well-being in the workplace that need to be overcome:

  • Legislation and other regulations are too imprecise and are not (sufficiently) implemented
  • Lack of evidence-based evaluation procedure and intervention guidelines
  • Insufficient financial resources especially for small medium enterprises
  • The relevance of work-related mental stress has not been internalized in the perception of the companies, and employers are mostly focused on improving productivity
  • Uneducated management

Our project was funded by the Research Promotion Foundation (RPF) of Cyprus and our goal is to bridge the gap between research and business and contribute to a better working environment. We are currently conducting a survey aiming to shed light to the nature of distress as well as the anti-stress strategies implemented across several industry sectors. For this reason, we are collecting data on levels of psychological distress in the form of depression, anxiety and stress, in professionals in the financial sector (bankers and auditors), health workers (and specifically nurses) and fire fighters. The study is part of a larger project which aims to:

  • raise awareness on the importance of promoting well-being in the workplace,
  • identify evidence-based cost-effective interventions,
  • facilitate the implementation of tailor-made programs that buffer work-related psychological distress and target its impact at individual and organization levels