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How to Reduce Work-related Stress?

CASE DEBATE, HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
ET Cases, 6 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Bala Bharathi Yelamanchi and Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Case Preview

How to Reduce Work-related Stress?

“To Be Healthy As A Whole, Mental Wellness Plays A Role.”

On 19th January 2018, Mamta Rai, a 26-year-old doctor working at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, came to attend a conference at Kochi and was found dead in a hotel room. Her suicide note cited that her battle with depression led her to take this extreme step. According to a recently published report in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, as many as 30% doctors are suffering from job-related depression while 17% even thought of committing suicide. More than 90% participants reported some level of burnout with long working hours being the prime reason behind the growing stress and burnout among doctors............

Work-related Stress and Symptoms

Stress at workplace is one of the biggest culprits of health problems in today’s fast-paced lifestyles. Job stress can be described as the gap between an employee’s needs and capabilities with that of the workplace offers and demands. The Health and Safety Executive, Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety, defines stress as, “The reaction people have to excessive demands or pressures, arising when people try to cope with tasks, responsibilities or other types of pressure connected with their job, but find difficulty, strain or worry in doing so.”...........

Impact of Stress on Employees and Organizations

According to the surveys conducted by Optum and 1to1help.net, two of the leading providers of employee assistance programs to Indian organizations, there is a substantial increase in the number of severely depressed employees and those vulnerable to end their lives due to intolerable stress levels. The research findings of the survey – conducted by Optum among 800,000 employees in 70 large companies having a minimum workforce of 4,500................

Discussion Questions

I. What is job stress or work-related stress? What are the long-term consequences of exposure to uncontrolled stress levels?
II. Why is speaking about depression and mental ill-health still a taboo?
III. Why are Indian employees increasingly bearing the brunt of job stress in recent times?
IV. ..............

Exhibits

Exhibit I: Stress Warning Signs and Symptoms

Exhibit II: Survey of Cigna TTK Health Insurance

Teaching Note Preview

How to Reduce Work-related Stress?

Preamble

The purpose of this Teaching Plan is neither to outline the answers to Case Debate’s discussion questions nor to suggest an ideal way of conducting an effective debate basis the given topic. It is more to share the authors’ perspectives, basis their classroom orchestration of this Case Debate, on possible ways of orchestrating this Case Debate.

Purpose of the Case Debate

Purpose of this Case Debate, which is a prelude to the Case Method of Teaching, is to inculcate the following skills [Exhibit (TP) -I] that would amply benefit the participants during their careers.............

As this Case Debate is based on a very generic topic, the purpose is not to dwell into only the research-based inputs but more to prepare the students/participants for the process of case discussion – except that while the case discussion would be based on case facts, the Case Debate encourages the students/participants to present their ideas with no rigorous business dilemma.

Classroom Orchestration Format

While the faculty has liberty to orchestrate this case debate in his/her desired format – like individual presentations, group discussions, group presentations, group debate, written assignments, role plays, etc. – it is suggested that each individual participant must be encouraged and mandated to participate given the purpose of this product as outlined above. Depending on the time availability, the number of students in the given class, the positioning of this Case Debate, the faculty may choose to orchestrate this Case Debate with clear learning outcomes. Also, the faculty can show one of the videos suggested in the additional readings/videos section at the end of this Teaching Plan to set the context and accordingly the class can be set on a discussion/debate mode with the set of questions outlined at the end of the Case Debate..............

Exhibits

Exhibit (TP)-I: CASE DEBATE – SKILL SCOPING

Exhibit (TP)-II: Action Plan to Keep Stress at Bay

Exhibit (TP)-III: Integrated Approach Model for Healthy Workplace

Exhibit (TP)-IV: How to Reduce Work-related Stress?

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Abstract

People go to work to make a living. What if the work takes the life out of people? Several instances of suicides have been reported due to increased work-related stress levels. Work-related stress amongst Indian employees has been on the rise in recent times owing largely to the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) business environment. Increasing stress has, in turn, led to a surge in the number of people who are suffering from depression and burnout, and are at high risk of suicide. Also, many a times the stress levels adversely impact an individual's immediate family in an irreversible way, jeopardizing several individuals' well-being in the process. Employers, therefore, face an increasing challenge of dealing with workers who are not only personally depressed but may also adversely impact the productivity of their organizations. Surveys conducted by Optum and 1to1help.net, two of the leading providers of employee assistance programs to Indian organizations, have shown a significant increase in the number of workers who are severely depressed or who are vulnerable to taking their lives due to rising stress levels. Stress levels are high in India compared with other developed and emerging countries, including the US, the UK, Germany, France, China, Brazil and Indonesia, according to the 2018 Cigna 360° Well-Being Survey - Future Assured, released in July 2018. Strangely enough, even the millennials are prone to work-related stress, of late. Also, some sectors (such as IT, Telecom, Aviation, Financial Services, FMCG, Automobiles and Media & Entertainment) and functions (marketing, sales and business development) are prone to higher work-related stress levels. Given that increased stress levels would have adverse effects on an organization's performance in multiple ways, wouldn't it be prudent for companies to work relentlessly to protect their employees from possible stress and burnout? Given the possible cascading effect of workrelated stress, what precautions should organizations take to preempt every possible stress symptom?

This Case Debatecenters around:

  • What is work-related stress and how does stress manifest in an organizational setting?
  • What are the reasons for work-related stress and burnout, and what are the early warnings/symptoms of the same?
  • What are the different ways to cope with stress?
  • What specific steps should organizations take to protect their employees from stress and burnout?

Purpose of this Case Debate, which is a prelude to the Case Method of Teaching, is to inculcate the following skills that would amply benefit the participants during their careers.

(a) Ideation
(b) Discussion and Debate
(c) Empathy
(d) Appreciation



Case Debate Positioning and Setting

Depending on the purpose, this Case Debate can be used for either of the following:

  • MBA Programs – Human Resources Management Course – Stress Management module - To understand the extent of work-related stress in Indian companies and debate on the possible solutions to alleviate, if not eradicate, all the sources of work-related stress
  • Undergraduate Programs/BBA Programs – To sensitize the participants to the prevalence and manifestation of work-related stress and emphasize on the need to not be a source of stress themselves



This Case Pack Includes:
- Abstract
- Case Debate
- Teaching Plan (**ONLY for Academicians)


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