Stress In The Workplace

By Dr. Jack Singer

Stress in the workplace

Stress in the workplace

According to a study, 40% of the American employees feel that their job is very stressful. As the issue of potential job loss, the economy and related factors causing stress is a persistent one, workplace stress needs to be dealt in a proper way. Otherwise there are chances of stress becoming a chronic problem.

Moreover stress at work impairs the job activities and also causes physical problems like head ache, back ache and later on heart problems. Extreme chronic stress can even cause death. The Japanese even have a term for it – Karoshi, which can be translated literally as “death from overwork”.  Work related stress results in decreased productivity, increased management problems and increased incidence of illnesses among employees.

Stress related problems are the most common causes of sickness absenteeism all over the world. In one study it was found that 13 million work days are lost every year in the UK due to stress and related problems. The other side of the problem involves the employers, who suffer production loss, earn bad reputations and are prone to litigations resulting in liabilities. The monetary cost of stress related problems runs up to 700 million pounds per year to the employers according to a study conducted in UK and about 150 billion dollars according to a study conducted in US.

Work Related Stress

The common causes of work place stress are

  • Unreasonable demands for performance
  • Lack of interpersonal communication between the employer and the employees
  • Lack of interpersonal relationship among the employees
  • The fear of losing one’s job.
  • Long working hours
  • Less time to spend with the family
  • Under utilization of skills
  • Underpaid jobs
  • A promotion that did not materialize

In a survey conducted to find out the most stressful jobs the following were found to be in the top four professions which caused more stress.

  • Nursing
  • Teaching
  • Managers
  • Professionals

Unlike stress in general, the work related stress affects men and women equally. Older employees are affected more than their younger counterparts. Stress at workplace could be due to

  • External cause like dangerous working condition or poor interpersonal relationship with the colleague.
  • Internal causes like physical or psychological illnesses
  • Acute cause
  • Long term cause

But in the long run the stress becomes chronic problem causing serious health problems.

Stress Management at Workplace

If an employer finds that his staff is under stress, he should not ignore it. He should take steps to help them. If he finds it difficult to provide a solution for it, he should get the help of another capable person or qualified professional. If the employee is suffering from non-work related stress, it should still be addrssed as it may later lead on to work related stress. There is no single stress relief method. The stress management at workplace thus has to combine steps to eliminate the source of stress and provide relief for the short and long term effects by utilizing popular stress relievers.

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