Badly managed workplace stress costs the South African economy billions of Rands each year. It debilitates management and employees alike. Dr Anthony Costandius, Counselling Psychologist, points out that nurturing the emotional strength of people within the company, i.e. utilising effective psychological principles, also found in well-functioning families – can help management and staff to endure and thrive. This gives the company the best chance to survive current and future economic challenges.
Stress in the workplace, a universally documented phenomenon, is exacerbated by the current extended global financial crisis. Survivors of cut-backs, retrenchments and corporate restructuring now need to do more with less, whilst still being required to meet the same targets as before. Office and home have become inextricably intertwined, providing little opportunity to recharge. People at risk means that the company is at risk.
The impact on the emotional and physical wellbeing of staff is clear. Increased absenteeism caused by chronic headaches, gastric problems, depression, anxiety, strokes and heart attacks, low morale and reduced job satisfaction have become the order of the day. For companies who now have to survive with a reduced and over-taxed workforce, this is very worrying.
The above situation can only change if more effective strategies are found to manage and nurture emotional strength in the workplace. Dr Costandius states: “We need to identify people at risk, offer helpful and appropriate interventions and create an environment where people feel safe to say ‘I need help!’ without the fear of being victimised or given a poor performance review.”
There is a solution. Dr Costandius believes that, by utilising stress reduction and coping strategies found in well-functioning families, management efficacy and the employer environment can be improved significantly. He adds that, while many of today’s managers have the functional and technical skills to manage, they lack the skills to create a healthy and successful emotional environment and culture in the workplace.
The gist of it…
Well-functioning families….it’s all about mutual respect. Family members need to be sensitive to the needs and the boundaries of each other. This is just as applicable to the workplace, but is difficult to achieve in a company environment that has become “unsafe” as a result of retrenchment and change.
Dr Costandius believes that the challenge for companies is to regain trust, to individualise and to provide structures within which beleaguered employees can again feel safe and experience a positive purpose in their participation in the company’s wellbeing.
NOTES TO THE EDITOR
Dr Anthony Costandius graduated from the University of Stellenbosch with a B.A. and B.A (Hons), HDE and MA (Counselling Psychology). Further studies include Hypnotherapy Level 1, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Transactional Analysis, Forensic Assessments and Neuropsychology. He completed a Ph.D at the University of the Free State.
He is the founder of the Promed Child and Family Unit in Durbanville, Cape Town.
Anthony understands the value of bringing positive psychology to the workplace, encouraging productivity and performance at both individual and organisational levels.
In a workplace or corporate environment which — whether we acknowledge it or not — is shaped by emotion, attitude and moods, Dr Costandius helps to counter negative emotions and facilitates hope and optimism.
His organisational consulting is particularly geared towards managing stress and uncertainty, enhancing the performance management process and aligning company and employee values.
Sherpa Business Communications
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