News and events Tilburg University

Working hard battling work pressure

Published: 06th June 2019 Last updated: 06th June 2019

beeld werkdruk

Around the middle of April, we published an article on work pressure on the Intranet. In this article,  the levels at which Tilburg University is currently looking at this issue are specified, and ‘Work Pressure’ project leader Cathelijn Jansbergen gives an update on the past few months and what has been happening behind the scenes during these months.

Options for employees at the individual level

Cathelijn indicates that it is her ambition to present a diverse range of options to reduce work pressure at the individual level. This allows employees to determine for themselves what suits them. Currently, employees can choose from among facilities focused on relieving tension, taking exercise, improving health and vitality, financial support, and employment conditions/arrangements. These facilities provide a first answer to the question “What is it I myself can do to reduce the work pressure I experience.” Cathelijn emphasizes that this does not mean Tilburg University leaves it up to the employees themselves to solve the pressure they experience. They can bring it up and discuss it with their immediate superiors, and look for a solution together. Of course, employees can also talk to colleagues about the work pressure they experience, or look for support from an expert, such as the Company Doctor, a Confidential Advisor, or schedule a meeting with someone from HR

Taking stock of possible solutions and developing those appropriate for our university

Tilburg University wants to offer its employees a diverse range of options. Cathelijn tells us that she and her team are currently talking to HR colleagues inside as well as outside the university, with other universities, and with an expert on work pressure. In these talks, the central issue is the needs of regular staff as well as those in managerial positions. The solutions that have proven successful are discussed and reviewed in regard to whether they might also be interesting and feasible for Tilburg University. The purpose of this is to determine what facilities we should offer regular staff and their superiors. Before the summer of 2019, we want to have a clear idea of what solutions are best suited to Tilburg University and its employees. After this, Cathelijn wants to start realizing and actively promoting the new options.

Communication and findability

The moment employees start searching for information on work pressure, it is important that such information can actually also be found. When we were taking stock, we found that the options available could not be found in the same spot, and instead were scattered all over the Intranet. One of the goals of the project is to present the available information in a logical spot. In addition, we also want to inform our colleagues in more detail about any new developments.

Options at the group level

At the group level, we are working on a number of pilots. In these pilots, several groups are counseled on work pressure by external parties. By discussing work pressure together and making arrangements on how to tackle it, we want to facilitate groups in dealing with work pressure.

Pilots involving teams

We are also looking for solutions to work pressure at the group level. To this end we currently have several groups taking part in a pilot. In these pilots, the groups are counseled on work pressure by external parties. At the moment, there are three pilots running and one has already been completed. The ‘story’ behind work pressure at the group level is different everywhere. The way external parties deal with the problem needs to be suited to the ‘story’ in question. A lot of time has been invested in choosing the external parties. While the pilots are running, Cathelijn and her team constantly monitor the process and evaluate things with the teams. On the basis of this feedback, adjustments can be made while the pilot is running. After they have been completed, the pilots are evaluated, after which a proposal is formulated together with a plan for its realization.

Solutions at the level of the organization

Behind the scenes, Cathelijn’s team has also been very busy at the level of the organization itself. At this moment, two interventions are running. One relates to decision-making at the level of the Schools and the Executive Board. The objective of this is to make sure that the implications for employees of any (new) proposals are carefully mapped out and weighed. The other one is aimed at getting a clear picture of specific work pressure problems at Divisions and Schools, and to find out what initiatives have already been taken to lower work pressure there. Are there any such initiatives, and if so are they proving successful? Cathelijn wants to share the successful practices with all the Schools and Divisons within Tilburg University. That way we can all learn from each other!

More information

If you have any questions, or if you would like to know more about work pressure and the different  ways this is tackled at Tilburg University, do not hesitate to contact Work Pressure project leader Cathelijn Jansbergen via c.a.f.jansbergen@tilburguniversity.edu, or at 013 – 466 29 15. Or you can just drop in at room C170.