Sounds a little too scientific for a blog post, right? Well, we believe that in order to deal with something effectively, we must understand it thoroughly first. Stress is such a major factor in our offices now that we must look to explore its various forms via which it impacts us. By going through this blog, we hope that you will also be able to identify the shape of the monster that is affecting your team’s work-life balance. Plus, implementing these well-being and stress management tactics, can help you to better retain talent by creating a healthy workplace people won’t want to leave!

Especially in today’s world, it is difficult to manage and conquer the stress that this modern working culture produces. Over the years, many have theorized ways to overcome these tensions. Although there is not a straight answer that resolves these pressures, there are several methods that have been found to successfully reduce stress. Let us take a look at three of the most popular stress models and how they impact the organisation.

The Job-Demands Resources Model (JD-R)

This is one of the most well-known and widely used models to understand stress, which was developed by researchers Arnold Bakker and Evangelia Demerouti in 2006. This model analyses how the work environment affects well-being and performance. This model theorizes that every individual has a set of job demands and resources.

Job demands are the physical or mental stressors that are present at work. These demands include a heavy workload, poor relationships, time pressures, and role ambiguity.

On the other hand, job resources are organizational, social, and physical factors that help meet demands and lower stress. Examples of job resources include autonomy, strong relationships, opportunities for development, micro breaks, and more. When demands outweigh resources high stress and burnout are likely to occur. When resources are equally balanced with demands then we typically see lower levels of stress, fatigue, and increased reports of job satisfaction.

If you are in charge of the team, you have to make sure that the balance of demands and resources stays put. Job resources such as micro-breaks, snacks, flexible work arrangements, and mentorship will be a big help.

The Conservation of Resources Model (COR)

This is another popular stress model that was developed by Dr. Stevan E. Hobfoll in 1989. This theory analyses the physiological stress reactions that are due to innate survival responses that motivate individuals to both maintain their current resources and pursue new resources. Basically, this model says that those with great resources are resilient to stress responses. This model encourages employees to proactively seek more resources in order to manage stress. For example, seeking time off, training on a new tool, or an additional team member to support the workload.

As an employer, it is vital to ensure that your employees have access to resources and encourage them to use and provide feedback on them to avoid potential burnout. Implementing the COR model in the workplace means reflecting and possibly shifting your culture. Consider asking yourself, is it easy for my team to find the tools or support they need? Is taking time off difficult to do or frowned upon? Is it easy or comfortable for my employees to express what they need or what’s valuable to them?

The Attention Restoration Theory Model (ART)

This theory was developed by Rachel and Stephen Kaplan in the 1980s. More than explain about a form of stress, this model deals with how to alleviate stress. This model examines how exposure to nature (both direct and indirect) improves focus and drives away fatigue. The age-old saying that nature rejuvenates holds true even today and we must take advantage of that.

If you have remote workers on your team, then it will be a good idea to ask them to plant a few houseplants and make it into a cool competition. Or if some remote workers happen to stay in scenic remote places, you can even ask them periodically to show the views from their houses. That combined with a few facts or titbits about that place will spark peace and a little healthy conversation on group calls/meetings too.

If you are all working in an office space then breaks to walk outside and reconnect with nature are highly appreciated. Microbreaks of 5-10 minutes every once in a while, will be of huge help too!

Honourable Mentions

Person Environment Fit Model

According to this model, a person starts to feel stress in a job where his aptitude, skills, abilities and resources are in line with the necessities of their job. The job profile he is operating in should be in accordance with his needs, knowledge, and skill sets. If these needs are not addressed, then it makes these employees “misfits” in that domain, which results in lagging behind in performance and not meeting management expectations. These employees end up with lower productivity, face isolation, and resort to denial, as a defence mechanism.

Effort-Reward Imbalance Model

This is self-explanatory. When employees put in hard work, they expect management to reward their efforts. In the absence of any such reward program, the employees get demotivated and underperform. It is not enough in today’s world to expect good output from employees as a “part of the job”. Companies that think they are entitled to get good output from employees just because they pay them, need to realize that it is not paying, but compensating them for their time, i.e. the employees could have done something way more productive with the time they spend in the company.

If you are reading this blog as somebody who works in management, we sincerely hope that you will be able to diagnose the root cause of stress affecting you and your team. If this can help even a single person improve work-life balance in their life, we will have succeeded.

Blog you later!