Strategies against work-related stress

Strategies against work-related stress
Media Literacy in Youth and Early Adulthood as a Resilience Factor
Prof. Dr. Jörn Hurtienne
Dr. Carolin Blum
Universität Würzburg, Lehrstuhl für Psychologische Ergonomie
Institut für Mensch-Computer-Medien

In the modern world of work, the proportion of employees in production-oriented professions is steadily decreasing. At the same time the share of employees in secondary services is continuously increasing. As a consequence, the perception of job demands changes: While physical demands have become less, psychological demands have become more relevant. Can this be caused by increased competition, new forms of control, the digitalization and acceleration of working life? Do a higher work intensity, growing time and work pressure, or the feeling of being overloaded need to be considered as the causes? Which factors do we need to focus on when analysing resilience in the workplace?

Activities like researching, developing, organizing, managing, consulting, teaching and publishing have been regarded as low-risk activities by ergonomists, where workers enjoy high autonomy, a high diversity of demands, and many possibilities for social networking. Recent research, however, suggests that these activities, too, can lead to burnout and negative health-consequences. Thus, we need to ask what the specific mental stressors of knowledge workers (i.e. individuals, whose work is characterized by high intellectual and creative demands) are and what the secret of remaining “resilient” in the face of such pressures is. This project develops recommendations concerning the interplay of the work organization, the organizational culture and the possibilities of individual employees to reduce work-related stress.