The launch of a stress prevention program should be preceded by a psychological diagnosis, including a periodic assessment of the psychosocial working conditions as well as an assessment of the mental and physical well-being of employees. To this end, various tools have been used to measure stressors at work and the consequences of stress, taking into account many comprehensive aspects of the working environment (e.g. the Copenhagen Questionnaire on Psychosocial Working Conditions - COPSOQ) or shorter questionnaires assessing the incidence of stress factors (e.g. the European Foundation for the Improvement of Working and Living Conditions - Eurofound questionnaire).
Previous research has proved that severe stress resulting from organizational factors is often experienced by persons working with patients or by those in an emotionally demanding social environment. This premise has been confirmed by the present study results, whereby organizational factors have been found to determine the level of job burnout: job burnout correlates significantly (p < 0.01) with the level of cognitive demands (Spearman’s p = 0.25), emotional demands (0.20), work engagement (-0.20), leadership quality (-0.21) and the level of perceived organizational fairness and employee respect (-0.29). The high significance of leadership quality in the context of job burnout may indicate that preventive programs aimed at reducing the level of work-related stress should be supported by active participation of management in the implementation of such measures. Below are presented proposals for actions to reduce organizational limitations on activities related to work-home/home-work conflict that should reduce job burnout and have a positive impact on worker well-being, since job burnout (p < 0.01) correlates significantly with the assessment of work-to-home conflict (0.41). Each activity described below should be preceded by management training to raise awareness on the importance of these activities for the functioning of the organization, as well as to provide detailed procedures for their implementation.
Measures to Reduce Organizational Limitations at Work
The results of a survey conducted among various sectors’ customer service employees [Mockallo and Najmiec 2017] present a number of possible actions aimed at reducing organizational limitations in working with patients. It is worth mentioning here, among others, the following projects, which relate to the residential care home occupational group:
- • taking care of the workstation equipment (e.g. equipment reducing physical strain at work with patients) and providing staff with equipment-use training and ergonomic load lifting methods,
- • reducing conflicting job demands (e.g. a demand to be empathic and not worry about patient complaints at the same time),
- • limiting the “switching” from one activity to another, and avoiding a sudden allocation of random tasks, unless these activities are aimed at reducing the monotony of work,
- • introducing procedures that promote job control and autonomy at work by increasing decision-making powers and introducing more flexible working hours where possible,
- • ensuring fair treatment of all workers by enhancing the link between individual contributions at work and the rewards received, as well as a fair remuneration system and frequent (where possible) awarding of prizes, recognition, and distinctions,
- • providing training to managers at all levels in order to familiarize the management with methods of reducing organizational limitations at work with a patient/client.
Measures to Reduce the Level of Job Demands
Based on research results obtained by Mockallo and Najmiec , a number of actions can be identified that reduce the negative effect of excessive demands on employees when working with a patient/client, e.g.:
- • reducing time pressure or the burden of new or urgent duties/tasks/responsi-bilities by: planning work in advance, scheduling activities with employees, informing employees in advance of planned shifts, reducing overtime and the need to work during leisure time,
- • reducing the amount of work related to reporting and “bureaucracy”, reducing the number of administrative duties, reducing the number of procedures as far as possible,
- • adjusting the number of workers to the number of required personnel and undertaking actions aimed at preventing staff shortages,
- • providing more flexible working time to reduce work-home conflict,
- • adapting the amount of work to workers’ capabilities (also in terms of age and experience) and enabling them to work at a pace adapted to their individual abilities and temperamental characteristics,
- • increasing the participation of employees in the functioning of the organization by increasing worker participation in decision making and affording them more power and autonomy (e.g. at creating work schedules, allocating night shifts, selecting shift co-workers/partners),
- • providing training to managers at all levels in order to familiarize management with methods of reducing quantitative demands and workload.