Stress is regarded as any progress that creates physical or mental pressure in the person who is encountering it. It is a physiological response that happens when your body is needed to play out an assignment or focus (Scott, 2020). Work-related stress, also known as occupational stress, is described as an individual’s negative reaction to excessive pressure or other expectations placed on them at their place of employment. Preston (2021) describes work stress in three phases that make its extensive definition. In the first instance, work-related stress is brought about by the influence of external improvements on the situation, which is a stressor. Subsequently, it incorporates the individual’s assessment of their external enhancements. Finally, work stress impacts one’s psychological, emotional, physical, and perhaps social well-being, which can be regarded as a strain.
Essentially, work pressure is a one-of-a-kind interaction in which emotional, mental assessments of job-related stresses result in poor physical and mental health as well as social strain consequences (Preston, 2021). Financial constraints, budget reductions, heavy caseloads, and other large-scale and small-scale hierarchical challenges have all been linked to increased levels of work-related stress in the current working environment, according to research. The long-term strain on the medical services sector may also result in various health problems, including individual frailty, lower hierarchical usefulness, and an increase in medical care expenses, among other things. In general, work-related stress develops due to a person’s capacity to deal with the pressures imposed on them at work. Extended stress may be a key contributor to the development of disease.
Levels of Stress at Work
Both workers and employers have reported feeling stressed at work in recent years. The rapid swings in stress levels that workers in many firms encounter on a daily basis are the result of a variety of factors. Stress can be experienced in various levels as it progressively develops into chronic conditions that affect health if not adequately monitored and addressed. Stress can be manifested in various levels, which include alarm (fight or flight), recovery (coping), adaptation, and burnout (Cole, 2018). At the alarm level, when employees are subjected to stress, an alarm is initiated in their body, which acts by stimulating and increasing the work rate of adrenaline glands. If these alarm level is not well managed and monitored, the employee will begin developing health concerns such as high blood pressure, rapid pulse rates, pain, among others.
The coping level highlights that the body can cope with the stimuli that are causing stress by making various adjustments. At this level, the body strives to revamp the body to its natural state before stress is inflicted. The recovery levels require an employee to intervene by indulging in regular exercises, which triggers the body to release endorphins, making them feel better. They also need to integrate healthy eating habits into their diet and getting enough rests for better coping with stress levels (Greenberg, 2016). However, if the employee does not respond positively and they do not regain their normalcy, they may find themselves in the next levels of stress.
The subsequent level is adaptation. This comes when stress persists and can be addressed by taking time off work for adequate recovery or adapting to the new situation. In some circumstances, employees can resign, but if they choose to work in these new environments, their bodies will be subjected to constant stress. In the long run, they will be low energy, low motivation, and low productivity in their professional work and the organization. The final level of stress is burnout, which arrives as a result of progressive stress levels leading to employees experiencing burnout. Burnouts that employees may experience include feelings of highly exhausted, emotionally drained, zero motivation and reduced productivity, negative thoughts, and poor communication (Robinson, 2015)
Notably, various external circumstances, such as the technological revolution and numerous changes in the country’s financial condition, have led to a rise in the amount of stress experienced at the place of business. Many firms experience high levels of stress when operations take place throughout the globe, and personnel comes from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Apart from that, stress at work is continually produced by various factors, including family or individual troubles, changes in organizational structure, the pace of globalization, and the rate at which consumers want goods from businesses (World Health Organization, 2020). The objective of this paper is to present the causes and impacts of stress and the employers’ responsibility in managing stress.
Causes of Stress
External variables such as technical advancements, variations in a country’s economic status, which might result in unemployment, and so on have all been shown to contribute to the development of stress at work. On the other hand, employee stress at work may decrease to the point that employee productivity and well-being are maintained, therefore contributing to the organization’s overall success. There are a variety of factors that contribute to stress in the workplace, all of which have an impact on the lives of workers. Employee stress levels rise over time and vary widely amongst employees as a result of excessive workload, congestion of the workplace, loud machine noise, and encouragement of confrontations between workers and management as a result of a lack or inadequate selection (Baligar, 2017).
Progressive working overtime is, without a doubt, the most uncomfortable thing that may happen at work. While working a few extra hours may result in projects being completed more quickly and extraordinary outcomes for your team, working consistently and every day is likely to result in overwhelming feelings of exhaustion, which will put additional pressure and stress on all parties involved. In addition, creating unreasonable deadlines for projects or exercises assigned to workers who cannot finish them on time is a significant source of extra work and, therefore, of business-related strain (Khanchel, 2019). Unreasonable schedules cause colleagues to be concerned about penalties from the board of directors if they do not finish their responsibilities on time, which often results in increased work and a great deal of pressure for everyone in the organization. As a result, regardless of whether the job is completed by the arbitrary deadline, it will not have been nurtured to an indisputable level and will not have been thoroughly appraised.
The workplace has a considerable influence on the work style of an individual employee. If an employee is surrounded by lazy employees who do nothing all day and constantly distract their attention or those that slave away all day following the manager’s orders, then there is a high likelihood that the employee will lose their motivation and determination. A stressful environment can be described to be lacking desired support from colleagues and managers, bullying from senior staff, and poor management that is characterized by favoritism. The absence of effective communication is another factor contributing to the stress in the workplace environment. The ability to communicate with people is really important to the vast majority of representatives and business professionals. Most organizations will have a few colleagues who are innately bad communicators, which is unavoidable in almost every organization. This may be particularly aggravating when these individuals are directors or deal directly with you on a daily basis. If the objectives and timeframes of work are not clearly defined and communicated, they may be overlooked. More effort will be required to get them back into the groove, and more labor will result in more strain on them (Khanchel, 2019). Consequently, the employee becomes concerned as a result of the situation.
Finally, the fear of being laid off and disagreements among coworkers are also substantial sources of stress in the workplace, according to research. It is usual for the dread of being laid off to result in a horrible, unfortunate feedback loop, in which representatives get more pressed and, as a result, do less and less work, putting them under increasing amounts of pressure. When it comes to conflict, it may range from minor issues, such as who sits where at a meeting, to major issues that can be exacerbated by impotent correspondence, such as disagreements about who was accountable for “stuffing up” a previous endeavor.
Impacts of workplace stress.
Experiencing workplace stress can be a daunting experience with various health, functioning, and productivity challenges. Employees in a stressful environment may develop short-term health issues that may end if the body responds adequately in coping with stress. It is also the responsibility of the employee to ensure that the stress in their work environment does not escalate to higher levels. Some short-term health concerns that are derived from workplace stress include experiencing sleep disturbances at night when resting, significant headaches, as well as difficulties in concentrating. Stress can also change employees’ approaches to the job as they showcase high tempers on trivial matters, high dissatisfaction with their jobs and responsibilities, and low motivation to perform daily tasks exquisitely.
If the stress condition in the work environment progressively increases, the employee may not effectively manage these stress levels, and they advance to risky levels that in turn develop some chronic health concerns. Some of the long-term health effects of a stressful environment entail developing cardiovascular complications, mental incapacitations and developing disorders, workplace injuries, and musculoskeletal disorders. These concerns are attributed to poor eating habits, reduced physical exercise, overthinking leading to mental breakdown, and more substance abuse. In the spectrum of inducing health long term complications, stress can also develop depression and anxiety.
The pressure of the working environment brings down employee efficiency, which thusly raises productivity concerns. An employee working in stressful environments is unmotivated and wishes they would not be working in the same environment. As stated, short-term health conditions hamper the levels of concentration, motivation, induced mental breakdown, and psychological disorder. The employee with these symptoms will be productively low in the organizations with low creativity. Workplace stress results in low performance among workers, poor productivity, low quality, substandard projects as well as general poor outcomes. Stress also expands the number of days missed from work and extends the money spent by the organization on health care coverage. Increased workplace accident and injury hazards and increased staff turnover are associated with increased administrative expenses.
Stress management at the workplace
The ability to handle stress is something that employers should provide to their workers. This tool may be particularly beneficial in firms experiencing low productivity, a lack of cooperation and teamwork, ineffective communication, high absenteeism, low energy, and high turnover (Bhui et al., 2016). Employers are at the forefront of the effort to combat stress. In addition to seeing issues early, the individuals who are best at doing something about them have the best chance of doing so right away. It is possible to avoid stress at work in the vast majority of cases, and identifying the sources of stress within an organization is the first step toward resolving the issue. Most businesses adopt measures to alleviate employee stress at the workplace. Employee well-being programs that are directly tied to lowering staff stress levels in the workplace have been undertaken by some of these firms in an effort to boost employee morale (Bhui et al., 2016). The personal approach, in particular, involves a variety of techniques to mitigate the harmful impacts of stress on employee health, such as daily training, health consultations, and regular trips to psychologists, among other things. Occupational health and safety professionals believe that workers should be aware of the various available services to help them protect their health at work, which is the primary goal of this training and advice initiative.
Professionals in the work environment need to be guided by the legal and moral provisions of the workplace to ensure that the relationship between employees, employers, and clients elicits desired outcomes. From the professional and legal perspective, employees’ rights have to be respected. In addition, leaders and employees have to commit to the moral aspect of professionalism for better interaction, collaboration, and resource harnessing to forestall stress levels in the environment. Ina dressing stress in the workplace, as a legal aspect, employees should work within the stipulated time in the agreement, and working overtime should be a choice for employees who wish to, bearing in mind there are justifiable remunerations for the extra time worked. Introducing the time tracking software in the workplace is one way to ensure that employees are not subjected to unnecessary overtime work as the system monitors the number of hours worked. Setting achievable and realistic deadlines will enhance employee satisfaction leading to healthier teams and better productivity.
Legal concerns also entail addressing the fear of job security in the workplace. On the other hand, encouraging effective and desired communication intertwined in good leadership is an ethical consideration for lowering stress in the workplace. Guaranteeing that employees respect each other, liaise with various departments and other professionals from other disciplines is a culture that lowers stress levels. Leadership strategies factor morals as essential pillars for better coordination of employees and projects to success. Good management that is supportive is, therefore, an engine for desired outcomes, including better performance and stress reductions.
Additionally, direct communication with anybody with whom you are collaborating is recommended, ensuring that you are typically in complete agreement with respect to your daily, weekly, and monthly duties and goals on a consistent basis. Keep in contact with one another and keep an eye on each other’s activities, and it may also assist colleagues to feel that aid is there when they need it. This also contributes to ensuring that no one is left behind. In terms of ethics, managers must reassure and empower their employees that they will not be laid off and stand by them in any case while experiencing their most difficult ebbs and flows.
By learning about their specific circumstances and developing a strategy to enhance their presentation, one-on-one meetings with workers who seem to be consistently falling short of the norm may help to alleviate their stress over being placed incorrectly. Accordingly, attending to any communication difficulties is the greatest technique for maintaining control over conflicts. The amount of struggle and, subsequently, the pressure that results from it may be reduced by considering the one-on-one time between group pioneers and individuals, remembering the bigger goal, and taking frequent breaks. In most cases, the tendency to point the finger at a certain person when things become stuck is understandable. Managing the problem as a group and seeing it through to completion, on the other hand, is far more beneficial to your company and relationships.
Notably, these professionals will also benefit from the training provided, as they will gain new information and abilities that will assist them in adapting to new developments within the organization. Employees who have access to up-to-date organizational resources are better able to adapt to rapid changes that occur inside the business. The elimination or minimization of possible stressors is another way of stress prevention that is proactive in nature. This level of intervention focuses on the underlying causes of physical and psychological stress experienced by workers while at their places of employment. Some other examples of key interventions include rethinking the workplace, increasing employee participation in decision-making and work planning, allocating more time and resources to specific work activities, and aligning job descriptions with employees’ talents and abilities (Baligar, 2017). Stress reduction is critical for improving employee collaboration and communication, increasing employee productivity, and enhancing employee creativity.
Importance of managing Stress in Workplace.
This collection of components is defined as the individual factors that contribute to worker exposure in the workplace in this section. Therefore, worker stress might be exacerbated by the institutional framework factors that they are exposed to at their place of work. When confronted with challenges such as ambiguity in the sort of job, employees may be unsure of what is expected of them or what employers anticipate of them. This poses the need to manage stress in the workplace. The importance of managing stress in the workplace induced both economic and individual benefits. Stress management in the organization is critical as it results in reduced risks of litigation as most practices comply with the set legal provisions. It also catapults high investments as individuals are stress-free to be worried about their work environment and channel the energy in being more innovative. A healthy workplace free from stress encourages development and improved customer relationship, which increases the customer base resulting in more output and productivity. This management also results in low organizational costs in covering for employees’ health concerns heightened by stress.
On professional levels, managing stress in the workplace is an essential endeavor. Employees will feel motivated and encouraged, thereby committing to daily tasks giving their optimal performance. The feeling of inclusion in decision making fosters a sense of belonging, which instills the culture of working harder and smart, thereby increasing performance and productivity for better returns. Managed stress levels foster better interaction and collaboration between employees and managers. Employees will be happy, responsible, creative, and better project and time management in various work activities.
After everything is said and done, the sources of employee stress in the workplace might vary from individual challenges to the workload, work environment, working conditions, and relationships between workers and their supervisors. Uncontrollable and frequently unexpected circumstances become the primary cause of stress as a consequence. Different factors, such as: education, training, and experience, may help employees cope with job uncertainty. It is normal practice in most businesses to utilize stress management methods to offer particular tools to assist employees in lowering their levels of stress at work, which can be done using stress management techniques. Providing free medical facilities, numerous training sessions, and continuing rehabilitation to employees is a possibility.
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