Stress Management through Work Fun Activities in IT Sector

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Summary of Stress Management through Work Fun Activities in IT Sector Stress Management through Work Fun Activities in IT Sector Pacific Business Review International Volume 11 Issue 9, March 2019 Abstract Stress is prevalent in all the phases of life, whether personal or professional. Stress affects a person both positively and negatively but mostly negatively. It affects employees as well as organisations. It affects employees in the form of declining productivity, increased absenteeism, low morale, increased turnover and burnouts, reduced morale, less self-confidence, tiredness, health issues, etc. It affects organisations in the form of reducing productivity, increased HR costs, lesser profits, hostile work-environment, increased turnover rates, employee dissatisfaction, etc. Work fun activities help in lightening the working environment for the employees so that they enjoy working in the organisation. Different work fun activities are studied in this paper as to which activities are more preferred by employees and that how these activities can be categorised. We found out that work fun activities that help in reducing stress are most preferred by the employees in an organisation followed by activities co-operating in maintaining work-life balance, work place ethics and effectiveness of work place, so that the working conditions are favourable to keep the employees in the organisation for longer time periods. Objectives -To study the preferences of employees regarding work fun activities. -To analyse the variation in preferences regarding work fun activities based on the nature of the job of employees. Research Methodology A representative sample of the population consisting of 101 units is selected to carry on study in this paper. The data is collected from the respondents about their preferences regarding work fun activities using a questionnaire based on likert scale. The statistical tools used to analyse the data are factor analysis and ANOVA to chalk out findings from the collected data. Key words: Work fun, work fun activities, stress relieving activities, organisational productivity, employee retention Introduction The word “STRESS” has its origin from the word “Stringere” in Latin, which means to tighten. Stress is the physical, emotional and behavioural, strain and changes, felt by us in response to adapting to Dr. Karamvir Sheokand Assistant professor IMSAR (MDU) 39 Neha Gupta Research Scholar IMSAR (MDU) Pacific Business Review International 40 the outside world pressure. According to Arnold (1960), and managers these days as it is supposed to be very "Stress is any condition that disturbs normal functioning". important for a harmonious, congenial and favourable Stress is the outcome of our bodily responses to the working environment in an organisation. Making work fun imbalance between demands and resources which results leads to increase in enthusiasm among employees in physical, emotional and behavioural changes in us. regarding their work and organisation, which will Some synonyms of word stress are anxiety, pressure, positively impact their productivity as well as frustration, etc. Stress is a relatively new, complex and organisational productivity. Adding fun to work is helpful dynamic concept which is spreading worldwide in relieving employees of any kind of stress they might be irrespective of areas and sectors. But the employees feel facing and make them enjoy working in their organisations excessively stressed and overworked due to increasing and looking forward to come to work. The informal complexity in working environment caused by extended activities added alongside work helps in developing mutual working hours, virtual working environments, ever- trust and friendships among employees at work place, and changing technologies, diversity, work-place politics, leads to an environment of cohesiveness and congeniality work teams and groups, global out-reach, etc. There are in the organisation. A healthy work environment results in various factors in personal life or jobs that cause stress to reduction of conflicts and grievances at work place, and employees like role conflict and ambiguity, monotonous whatever minor issues arise can be sorted out by mutual work, rapid organisational changes, job insecurity, communication and understanding. In such kind of demanding boss, hostile working environment, long organisations employees respect each other as individuals commutes, poor career planning and management, value and that leads to a rise in happiness and contentment among and cultural differences, personal finances, lack of employees. Employees working in a fun environment feel appraisal and recognition, poor inter personal satisfied about their work and the organisation they are relationships, etc. There are various symptoms and working for, thereby developing a sense of commitment reactions, physical and emotional, which indicate that the and organisational citizenship, which is beneficial for both employees are going through stress. For example high the employees and the organisation in the long run as it blood pressure, insomnia, wearisomeness, trembling, leads to lower turnover rates and burnouts for organisation headaches, feeling helpless, haste, frustration, inability to as well as better career planning and development for concentrate, nervousness, short-tempered, etc. Stress can employees. Employees, when relieved of stress, feel have both positive (Eustress) as well as negative (Distress) creative and find newer, easier and faster ways of doing the effects resulting in enhancing work performance, as well same work thereby saving valuable capital and human as, reducing it. The results of stress, whether constructive resources. This kind of work environment enhances or destructive, depend on how the employees perceive it, as employee satisfaction and motivation and their overall a problem or as a solution. When an employee thinks that productivity and efficiency. In these kinds of organisations he can successfully complete a task while managing all the employees are excited to come to work and there is a lack of related pressures, then stress works as a motivating factor absenteeism because employees feel appreciated and and vice-a-versa. The organisation and management need respected and do not complain about boredom and dullness to manage the level of stress among employees for at workplace. Employees consider such organisations, by effectiveness in work because stress has negative impacts and large, fun to work at and are happy to work for them. on both the employee and the organisational performance. Such feelings among employees help organisations in Stress impacts performance negatively in the form of attracting and retaining talented employees, resulting in increased absenteeism and turnover, low productivity, increased organisational profitability and development of hostile work environment, organisational ineffectiveness, competitive advantages. increased legal and financial damages, counter productive Though adding fun to work provides with a lot of benefits, work behaviour, ill physical and mental health, job there are some cons to it too. Some managers are of the dissatisfaction, etc. Organisations, management and point of view that workplaces are to work and not for employees themselves can use various strategies to having fun and that adding fun to work is not necessarily manage stress like stress control workshops and training, beneficial because there are no proofs of positive impacts participation in decision-making and goal-setting, social on an organisation that can be attributed solely to adding recognition, ploughing anger and energy into something fun to work. According to them, too much happiness can be positive, meditation camps, Flexi-time, introducing work- exhausting and can damage the professional relationships fun activities, Relaxation, developing harmonious at work place. They based their resistance to fun on factors relationships, music and meditation, physical exercise, etc. like, time and financial constraints, lack of employee Work fun is increasingly gaining attention of organisations enthusiasm and participation, lack of creativity in Volume 11 Issue 9, March 2019 41 designing fun activities, no support and participation from different demographic and professional profiles prefer superiors in the fear of looking silly, or of losing control and different kind of activities for adding fun to work. respect among subordinates, fear of hurting sentiments or In this paper, these activities (from a study by R. C. Ford et. causing distractions for employees, negatively impacting al.) clubbed under 17 different heads are considered as organisational productivity and work culture because activities that add fun to work for employees for studying employees are too busy with having fun at work, or the fear and analysing their preferences: that employees may damage the organisational property in their pursuit of having fun, etc. -Recognition of Personal Milestones [RPM] (it includes celebrating events like Birthdays, hiring anniversaries, These cons can be dealt with and converted in pros by being personal achievements, etc.) careful and cautious while introducing fun to the work environment and keeping a vigil eye so that it does not go -Social Recognition and Rewards [SRR] (including out of hand and hurt employees as well as the organisation. rewards like employee of the month, star of the team, Mangers can make sure that employees do not prefer fun public applause for performance, recognition programs, over work and do not spend a major portion of their time in etc.) having fun rather than working. Also, cheap remarks, -Joy of Helping Others [JHO] (it includes activities like racism, sexual harassment, practical jokes, mean pranks, Volunteer Work, Corporate Social Responsibility foul language, etc. should be discouraged and prohibited Programs, organising Blood donation camps, disaster and even punished if necessary, and a strict eye must be relief funds, philanthropic work, humanistic work kept so that people do not harass each other under the practices, etc.) disguise of having fun. Employees should not be allowed to damage or destroy any of the organisation's property while -Stress Release Activities [SRA] (including relaxation having fun and all such kind of activities should be activities like Meditation rooms, music rooms, gyms, reprimanded. relaxation rooms, massages, power naps, etc.) Though, some managers try to avoid adding fun to work -Humour and Entertainment [H&E] (includes sharing based on any of the above or any other reason, a majority of cartoons, jokes in newsletters, emails, skits, plays, book organisations are looking forward to adding fun to work clubs, light and happy work environment, hobby and skill and are finding new ways and activities that they can use to classes, etc.) lighten up the work environment in their organisation so -Social Events and Festivities [SEF] (includes planning that they can help their employees in reaching to their full activities like picnics, parties, social gatherings, Diwali, potential by working in a tassel free and stress free Holi, New Year celebrations, get together, etc.) organisation. For example, letting employees enjoy some music, or have breaks and rest between long working -Games and Friendly Competitions [GFC] (including hours, or providing them with free food and beverages, organising events like athletic meets, sports days, cricket outdoor projects, or a nice and homey workplace setting, matches, marathons, badminton, musical events, talent etc. helps in calming their anxiety and affect their creativity hunt, dancing and singing competitions, etc.) and productivity. Similarly a smile, or a joke, or a silly dress -Informal Activities [InA] (it includes having group up day relieves them of some of the boredom of their daily lunches, after hour outings, costume parties, trips and tours, routine work. A friendly competition or game among casual dress day at work, etc.) employees, volunteer work, game rooms and activities, family involvement, flexi-work, etc. helps the employees -Flexi-Work [FxW](making working conditions flexible in maintaining a balance between work and life and healthy by time adjustment, place adjustment, work from home, working relations with colleagues; and rewards and online working, etc. for work life balance) recognition, employee awards, other performance related -Family Involvement [FIn] (involving employee families rewards, etc. enhance employee satisfaction and by activities like family get together, paid family vacations, motivation. cute baby contests, family parties, etc.) Fun Activities: -Participation in Management [PIM] (increasing employee Employees preferences regarding work fun activities participation in management by participation in decision depends on a range of factors like their gender, age-group, making, board meetings, vision, mission and goal setting, nature of job, job tenure, educational qualifications, size of targets and standards setting, etc.) work force, outlook towards work fun, etc. People with -Equality at Work Place [EWP] (managing diversity issues Pacific Business Review International 42 by equal importance to all cultures, castes, gender, age, -Outdoor and Foreign country Projects [OFP] (giving experience, respecting individual differences, equality in employees' opportunities to visit other countries, projects pay, roles etc.) on scenic locations, etc.) -Work place layout, Location and Facilities [WLF] Data Analysis: (making workplace comfortable by availability of The data for the underlying study is collected from a electricity, clean air, humidity, temperature, comfortable representative sample of the population universe. A sample sitting, transport facilities, medical facilities, office size of 101 units is selected at random from the population location, etc.) and the required data is collected with the help of a -Effective and efficient Managerial Support (Leadership, questionnaire based on a five point likert scale. An communication, motivation) [EMS]. unbalanced scale is used to collect data keeping in mind the importance of adding fun to work, making it favourable -Work Place Transparency [WPT] (making work place towards adding fun to work with four points being most transparent by transparency in selection, hiring, important, very important, fairly important and important performance appraisals, pay scales, promotions, systems, and one point being unimportant as unfavourable one. The etc.) table no. 1 gives details about the demographic -Free food and beverages [FFB] (canteens, food courts, composition of the respondents. cafes, etc.) Table No 1: Demographic composition of sample population Particulars Frequency(absolute) Percentage (%) Gender Male 61 60.4 Female 40 39.6 Age group (in years) Up to 25 49 48.5 26-30 33 32.7 31-40 16 15.8 41-50 2 2.0 Above 50 1 1.0 Family Status Single 66 65.3 Married (2 people) 20 19.8 Family (more than 2) 15 14.9 Educational Qualifications Diploma 4 4.0 Graduation 67 66.3 Post-graduation 27 26.7 Any other 3 3.0 Length of Service (in Years) 0-1 22 21.8 1-5 52 51.5 5-10 11 10.9 10-20 14 13.9 More than 20 2 2.0 Nature of Job Technical 65 64.4 Managerial 17 16.8 Administrative 8 7.9 Others 11 10.9 Volume 11 Issue 9, March 2019 43 Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy. 0.738 Bartlett's Test of Sphericity Approx. Chi-Square 807.478 Df 136 Sig. 0.000 Table No. 2: KMO and Bartlett's Test Table no. 2 consists of the KMO and bartlett's measure of Bartlett's test of sphericity also helps in determining that the sample. The KMO measure, i.e., Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin whether the collected data is suitable for performing factor measure is the measure of sampling adequacy. It helps in analysis or not. Bartlett's test indicates the strength of determining whether the responses of the sample are relationships among variables by testing the hypothesis adequate for performing factor analysis or not. According that whether correlation matrix is an identity matrix or not to Kaiser (1974) if KMO is less than 0.5 the sample is not making them unsuitable or suitable for structure detection. acceptable, the sample is mediocre when the value is Factor analysis can be done on a sample with Bartlett value between 0.5-0.7, acceptable with values ranging from 0.7- of less than 0.5. Here, the value is 0.00 (Table no. 2) making 0.9 and the sample is excellent if the value of KMO is the sample suitable for performing factor analysis. higher than 0.9. Here in this sample the KMO value is 0.738 (Table no. 3) making the sample acceptable for further testing. Table No. 3: Total Variance Explained Component Initial Eigenvalues Extraction Sums of Squared Loadings Rotation Sums of Squared Loadings Total % of Variance Cumulative % Total % of Variance Cumulative % Total % of Variance Cumulative % 1 5.986 35.211 35.211 5.986 35.211 35.211 3.364 19.787 19.787 2 1.745 10.263 45.475 1.745 10.263 45.475 2.249 13.227 33.014 3 1.447 8.513 53.987 1.447 8.513 53.987 2.106 12.386 45.400 4 1.313 7.725 61.712 1.313 7.725 61.712 1.909 11.228 56.628 5 1.072 6.305 68.017 1.072 6.305 68.017 1.677 9.866 66.494 6 1.015 5.969 73.986 1.015 5.969 73.986 1.274 7.492 73.986 7 .773 4.546 78.532 8 .713 4.194 82.727 9 .579 3.405 86.132 10 .505 2.973 89.104 11 .459 2.702 91.807 12 .339 1.992 93.799 13 .314 1.850 95.648 14 .245 1.442 97.091 15 .205 1.206 98.297 16 .159 .937 99.234 17 .130 .766 100.000 Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis. Pacific Business Review International 44 The Total Variance is explained in Table no. 3. The table has The extraction sums of squared loadings are the factors that been divided into 3 parts, i.e., initial eigen values, can be extracted to perform factor analysis. These factors extraction sums of squared loadings and rotation sums of explain the total variance among variables. Acc. to table no. squared loadings. The initial eigen values reflect the 3, the first factor explains 35.21 %, 2nd factor 10.26%, 3rd number of items whose sum should be equal to the number 8.51%, 4th factor 7.72%, 5th 6.30% and 6th factor explain of factors which are extracted to perform factor analysis. 5.97% of the variance. Table No. 4: Rotated Component Matrixa Component 1 2 3 4 5 6 Recognition of Personal milestones .828 Social Recognition and rewards .810 Joy of Helping others .514 Stress release activities .660 Humor and Entertainment .774 Social events and festivities .619 Games and friendly competitions .772 Informal activities .755 Flexi-work .897 Family involvement .576 Participation in management .529 Equality in work place .792 Work place layout, location and facilities .803 Effective Leadership, communication, motivation and managerial support .694 Workplace transparency .696 Free food and beverages .785 Outdoor and foreign country projects .843 Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis. Rotation Method: Varimax with Kaiser Normalization. a. Rotation converged in 10 iterations. The table no. 4 shows the loadings (extracted values of blank. The value of loadings should be higher than 0.5 to be variables) that the 17 variables have on the extracted 6 categorised in a factor. The values with less than 0.5 will be factors. The contribution of factors with higher absolute ignored for ease of study. Since factor 6 has only one factor values is more than those with lower absolute values. All loading it is combined with factor 2 to simplify further the variables are divided into aforesaid six factors analysis and interpretation. according to the value of loadings with factor no. 1 being Rotation is used to reduce the number of factors having the most important among the six followed by 2nd, 3rd and high variable loadings. Rotation does not change the results so on. The factor which has highest loading of a variable but helps in quick, easy and accurate interpretation of includes that variable and the values of that variable for the results. According to the table no. 4, the five factors can be remaining five factors are ignored and therefore are kept classified as following based on the variables loading on Volume 11 Issue 9, March 2019 45 them: 3rd factor is effective work place 1st factor is stress coping activities. 4th factor is recognition needs 2nd factor is work life balance and work place ethics 5th factor is refreshing activities. Table no. 5: ANOVA Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. REGR factor score 1 for analysis 1 Between Groups 3.978 3 1.326 1.340 .266 Within Groups 96.022 97 .990 Total 100.000 100 REGR factor score 2 for analysis 1 Between Groups 4.740 3 1.580 1.609 .192 Within Groups 95.260 97 .982 Total 100.000 100 REGR factor score 3 for analysis 1 Between Groups 1.848 3 .616 .609 .611 Within Groups 98.152 97 1.012 Total 100.000 100 REGR factor score 4 for analysis 1 Between Groups 13.399 3 4.466 5.003 .003 Within Groups 86.601 97 .893 Total 100.000 100 REGR factor score 5 for analysis 1 Between Groups 9.133 3 3.044 3.250 .025 Within Groups 90.867 97 .937 Total 100.000 100 Table no. 5 consists of the results of carrying ANOVA test in other (dependent) variable. Acc. to table no. 5, REGR on the factor scores of the extracted 5 factors based on the factor score for factor 4 and 5 are significant as the nature of job (technical, managerial, administrative and significance value is less than 0.05 for these two factors others) of the respondents. ANOVA stands for Analysis Of being 0.003 and 0.025. That means there is significant Variance. ANOVA test helps in determining that whether difference between mean values of different groups the variance between two groups is significant or not regarding these two factors, i. e., employees' preferences regarding one or more characteristics. ANOVA also helps towards work fun activities variate regarding these two in studying the cause and effect relationship between two factors, recognition needs and refreshing activities, on the variables where one variable (independent) cause variation basis of nature of their job. Pacific Business Review International 46 Table No. 6: Multiple Comparisons Tukey HSD Dependent Variable (I) nature of job of the respondent (J) nature of job of the respondent Mean Difference (I- J) Std. Error Sig. 95% Confidence Interval Lower Bound Upper Bound REGR factor score 4 for analysis 1 technical managerial -.44710803 .25739563 .310 -1.1199739 .2257578 administrative -1.27324194* .35402599 .003 -2.1987122 -.3477717 Other .03854393 .30805564 .999 -.7667538 .8438417 managerial technical .44710803 .25739563 .310 -.2257578 1.1199739 administrative -.82613391 .40511277 .181 -1.8851517 .2328839 Other .48565196 .36562307 .547 -.4701346 1.4414385 administrative technical 1.27324194* .35402599 .003 .3477717 2.1987122 managerial .82613391 .40511277 .181 -.2328839 1.8851517 Other 1.31178588* .43904683 .018 .1640600 2.4595118 other technical -.03854393 .30805564 .999 -.8438417 .7667538 managerial -.48565196 .36562307 .547 -1.4414385 .4701346 administrative -1.31178588* .43904683 .018 -2.4595118 -.1640600 REGR factor score 5 for analysis 1 technical managerial -.20195666 .26365938 .870 -.8911968 .4872835 administrative -1.11981432* .36264125 .014 -2.0678060 -.1718226 Other -.24545751 .31555220 .864 -1.0703523 .5794373 managerial technical .20195666 .26365938 .870 -.4872835 .8911968 administrative -.91785766 .41497123 .127 -2.0026468 .1669315 Other -.04350085 .37452055 .999 -1.0225466 .9355449 administrative technical 1.11981432* .36264125 .014 .1718226 2.0678060 managerial .91785766 .41497123 .127 -.1669315 2.0026468 Other .87435681 .44973109 .217 -.3012991 2.0500127 other technical .24545751 .31555220 .864 -.5794373 1.0703523 managerial .04350085 .37452055 .999 -.9355449 1.0225466 administrative -.87435681 .44973109 .217 -2.0500127 .3012991 *. The mean difference is significant at the 0.05 level. Table no. 6 compares the mean values for different nature consisting of Joy of Helping others, Stress release of jobs and shows the variation in employees' preferences activities, Humor and Entertainment, Games and friendly regarding recognition needs and refreshing activities based competitions, Informal activities and Participation in on the nature of their job. Here we can see that, management. The second important set of activities are administrative staff variates from technical and other staff work-life balance and work place ethics related set of regarding recognition needs and from only technical staff activities consisting of Social events and festivities, Flexi- regarding refreshing activities, their values being work, Family involvement, Effective Leadership, significant (less than 0.05) at 5% significance level. communication, motivation and managerial support and Workplace transparency. Next comes the set of activities Findings: that makes the workplace more effective to work at In this study the seventeen work fun activities are consisting of Equality in work place and Work place layout, categorised under five heads using factor analysis to find location and facilities. It may also be noted that these are out about employee preferences. We found out that the the activities that are most preferred by the employees most preferred fun activities for employees that make an irrespective of their demographic profiles (Karamvir organisation fun to work at are stress relieving activities Sheokand, Neha Gupta, 2018). Then come the fourth set of Volume 11 Issue 9, March 2019 47 activities namely recognition needs of employees Google, Southwest Airlines, and Facebook. consisting of Recognition of Personal milestones and International Journal of Research in Business Social Recognition and rewards. The last one are the Studies and Management Volume 2, Issue 12. PP refreshing activities consisting of Free food and beverages 15-18 ISSN 2394-5923 (Print) and ISSN 2394- and Outdoor and foreign country projects which are also 5931 (Online) least preferred by the employees (Karamvir Sheokand, Beehr, T. A.; Newman, J. E.; (1978) Job Stress, Employee Neha Gupta, 2018). We also found out that employees' Health and Organizational Effectiveness: A Facet preferences changed on the basis of the nature of their jobs Analysis, Model and Literature Review. Personnel regarding recognition and refreshing activities. The Psychology, 31. Pp. 665-699. preferences of administrative staff variated from technical Burke, R. J.; (1993) Work-family stress, conflict, coping staff regarding recognition needs and refreshing activities and burnout in police officers. Stress and Health. and from other staff regarding recognition needs only. Volume 9, Issue 3. Pp. 171–180. Conclusion: Chand, P.; Sethi, A. S.; (1997). Organizational Factors in In conclusion we can say that work fun activities play an Development of Work Stress. Indian Journal of important role in relieving employees of stress and stress Industrial Relations. Vol. 32, No. 4. Pp. 453-462. relieving activities are the most preferred activities by the Everett, A. (2011). Benefits and Challenges of Fun in the employees to make the organisation fun to work at and to Workplace. help them stay in the organisations for longer time periods. Stress affects the performances of both the employees and Fevre, M. L.; Matheny, J.; Kolt, G. S.; (2003) Eustress, the organisations, negatively. Staying in stress for longer distress, and interpretation in occupational stress. time periods is not healthy for employees and put them Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 18, Issue under the state of unhappiness. And similarly for 7. Pp. 726-744. organisations it can lessen their profitability and life cycle. Fluegge, E.R. (2008). 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