WORKPLACE STRESS: CAUSES & CURES
stress is a significant problem that affects the health of not only individuals but also that of organisations & society.
occurs when there is an imbalance between the
demand posed by a particular work environment & the perceived capability of the employee to meet the demand.
Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary defines stress as “The result produced when a structure, system or organism is acted upon by forces that disrupt equilibrium or produce strain.”
Stress can be defined as “The harmful physical & emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources or needs of the worker. Job
IMPACT OF STRESS
global Stress is a that
results in heavy costs to individuals, companies or organisations society. & the
AT INDIVIDUAL LEVEL:
ØDevastating effect on the physical & mental health ØLoss of capacity to cope with challenging work & social situations ØAffect concentration & focus on work, leading to poor performance ØLeads to a variety of disorders & illness & also abusive habits like excessive smoking, drinking,
drugs, etc. ØLeads to extreme consequences like depression,
AT ORGANIZATIONAL LEVEL:
ØProductivity & efficiency of the organisation ØIncreased absenteeism on account of sickness, higher medical expenses, drop in performance due to low motivational levels Øhigh labour turnover ØAssociated recruitment & training costs Ø
INTERNAL STRESSORS Arise from the individual’s perception of threat from the environment
üTime stress – arising out of pressure on account of deadlines to be met üSituational Stress – that occurs when a person is caught in unpleasant situations. üAnticipatory stress – when a person perceives that an impending event is going to be unpleasant & worries about it. üEncounter Stress arising out of interpersonal
contacts & work relationships.
EXTERNAL STRESSORS Attributable to the environmental conditions beyond individual’s control
üPhysical environment – poor lighting conditions, excessive noise levels, etc. üQuality of work – monotony, long hours, unrealistic targets, etc. üRole ambiguities – ambiguous demands, value
conflicts, conflicting responsibilities. üRelationship at work – with peers, superiors & subordinates, the way in which managerial authority is exercised, & organizational structure & climate.
WHO IS VULNERABLE TO
ØStress affects all categories of workers – blue collared as well as white collared, young & old, male & female. ØOnly the degree of
Occupations with high stress levels Occupation Miner Police officer Prison officer Construction worker Airline pilot Journalist Advertising executive Dentist Actor Doctor Broadcasting personnel Nurse Film production crew Ambulance personnel Musician Firefighter Teacher Social worker Personnel manager Rating scale 8.3 7.7 7.5 7.5 7.5 7.5 7.3 7.3 7.2 6.8 6.8 6.5 6.5 6.3 6.3 6.3 6.2 6.0 6.0
GENDER & WORK ØA survey of 1300 STRESS full time employees of private
companies in the United states, found that stress affects women more than men, & that women are more exposed to burnout, stress- related illness & resignation. Ø ØResearch studies conducted in Sweden show that the total workload of women employed part-time is
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF STRESS
Feelings of vague anxiety 1. WARNING depression Boredom Apathy Emotional Fatigue Sleep disturbances Muscle aches More frequent headache/cold Irritability Intensified depression
Talking about feelings Taking a vacation Taking time for yourself
2. MILD SYMPTOMS
More aggressive lifestyle changes may be needed Short-term counselling
3. ENTRENCHED CUMULATIVE STRESS
Depression Physical & emotional fatigue Ulcer Intense Anxiety Rigid thinking Restlessness Sleeplessness
The help of medical & psychological professionals is highly recommended
4. SEVERE CUMULATIVE STRESS REACTION
Asthma Significant intervention Severe depression from professionals Uncontrolled anger, grief, rage Over-reaction to minor events Frequent Accidents Carelessness, forgetfulness Heart Conditions
SYMPTOMS OF STRESS:
STRESS MANAGEMENT INTERVENTION & APPROACH – TO TREAT TECHNIQUES
This involves identifying those suffering from severe stress, & providing health-care & psychological counseling to alleviate them.
2.SECOND APPROACH – TO TAKE STEPS TO BUILD STRESS MANAGEMENT SKILLS IN THE
INDIVIDUALS: This can be done through structured
programs that teach employees time management, relaxation techniques, & also educate them on improving their dietary habits.
THIRD APPROACH – TO REMOVE THE CAUSES OF STRESSORS BY CHANGING THE
ENVIRONMENT: This requires eliminating or reducing the environmental stressors like excessive noise,
pollution, etc, modifying the production schedules & workloads, setting realistic targets, having
supportive work & family policies.