JIS News

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  • In organisations where managers proactively express care for the well-being of workers, stress level is lower and motivation to work is higher.
  • This is among the findings of an islandwide study that was conducted between July and October 2019 among 46 organisations across the public and private sectors.
  • Approximately 1,600 employees were surveyed, of which 54.5 per cent were from the private sector, with the remaining 45.5 per cent being public servants.

In organisations where managers proactively express care for the well-being of workers, stress level is lower and motivation to work is higher.

This is among the findings of an islandwide study that was conducted between July and October 2019 among 46 organisations across the public and private sectors.

Approximately 1,600 employees were surveyed, of which 54.5 per cent were from the private sector, with the remaining 45.5 per cent being public servants.

Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’, on February 19, medical practitioner, Dr. Ijah Thompson, who undertook the study jointly with Dr. Kenisha Nelson, explained the rationale for and some of the findings and recommendations of the research.

He cited a 2016 article by the Huffington Post which indicated that the World Health Organization (WHO) had referred to stress as the health epidemic of the 21st Century – a threat to engagement, productivity, retention and looming healthcare costs.

Dr. Thompson added that WHO estimates that depression and anxiety cost the global economy $1.1 trillion each year in lost productivity.

The study, titled, Exploratory Evaluation of Stress and Burnout among Jamaican Employees’, sought to investigate the Jamaican workers’ experience of stress and burnout.

“We wanted to understand the drivers of work stress and to get to understand the levels within individuals, the organisation and our society,” Dr. Thompson said.

He pointed out that the research was undertaken focusing on the situation in Jamaica, following the literature review and the discovery that very little academic work had been done in that area.

“In terms of guidelines, however, we found that the Ministry of Health is in the process of developing a mental health framework,” he noted.

“We pulled together a convenient sample brought together from our partnership with the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce and the Human Resource Association of Jamaica. From that we did an anonymous electronic survey with 360 questions in five parts that was meant to bring together a comprehensive view of what work stress looked like in terms of drivers and outcome,” he further explained.

He pointed out that in the low-stress environments there was generally more care and understanding shown by managers regarding the well-being of staff.

“Between cases of high stress to low stress we found that there was a two-fold change in work fulfilment from 33 per cent in high-stress environments to 62 per cent in the low-stress environment,” Dr. Thompson noted.

He added that happiness at work moved from 21 per cent in the high-stress state to 43 per cent in the low-stress state.

Dr. Thompson pointed out that although work stress goes on a continuum, the focus of the study was on high work stress, meaning persons who experience stress at least once per week with an intensity of 7/10 or greater.

According to the researcher, who is also a wellness consultant, stress is defined as the negative mental state that is experienced when demands and threats surpass one’s ability to deal with them or to satisfactorily cope with them.

The presentation of the study received the award for being the most impactful in the oral presentation category at the Tenth Annual National Health Research Conference which was held in November 2019.

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