The Nature of Stress in the Workplace
Stress in the workplace is no longer new to us. Everybody in the office, or any workplace for that matter, experience it; beginning from the executives down the rank and file staff. No one is spared from it. But what is stress really?
Copyright (c) 2008 Konstantin Koss
Stress in the workplace is an old story. Everybody in the office, or any workplace for that matter, experience it; beginning from the executives down the rank and file staff. No one is spared from it. But what is stress really? Is it really that bad?
-The Nature of Stress
Stress is the way our bodies and minds respond to the demands and responsibilities put upon them. It is a part of any job. It is a part of our everyday life. In the workplace, stress is manifested when the demands of the job and challenges it entails increase.
Stress is how our body reacts to these things. It is what drives us to do the job and finish it right away to meet the deadline but have it done well. The heightened tension gives us an adrenaline rush that allows us to push ourselves to the limit. Oftentimes, it is after the work is done or when the crisis is resolved that we feel the exhaustion. Then we feel relieved.
A little stress from time to time is good for the body and mind for it is some sort of exercise for the brain to think of solutions to the problem the shortest time possible. It is also some sort of exercise for the body when it needs to do the running and walking around in doing the work. This is when people feel more alive, because they are doing something important; hence, they feel important. So, a little stress is actually good for you.
-When Stress Becomes Excessive
So when do stress becomes bad for you? When stress becomes excessive, it becomes bad for your health. As the old adage says, "anything in excess is bad". Everything has to be in moderation.
Excessive stress can trigger emotional as well as physical responses that may be harmful the person experiencing it and to the organization he belongs to as well. Excessive stress may manifest in the individual or employee in the form of headache, uneasy sleep, upset stomach, irritability, inability to focus, and poor treatment and relations with colleagues, family and friends.
Each of these manifestations of stress affect the productivity of the employee in the workplace. It may result to absenteeism and sometimes insubordination; hence, affecting the company's overall performance in the long run. It could lead to conflict and more tension in the workplace
And worst of all, stress can also lead to serious chronic diseases such as musculoskeletal conditions, cardiovascular disease and even psychological disorders. There are strong evidence from scientific studies that workplace stress does contribute to the development of chronic health problems that were mentioned.
So how does workplace stress become excessive? Workplace stress, or what is known as job stress, increases as the demands and challenges of the work increase as well. When these demands and challenges become excessive and the employee's ability to handle them or the satisfaction of the employee with the compensation of his effort for the job do not match, that's when stress becomes excessive.
For example, an average employee is given too much work beyond his mental ability, or just impossible to accomplish at the given time, then stress becomes excessive. Or if the employee given a difficult or complex task is only receiving minimum wage, he would be dissatisfied with it but is unable to voice his opinion so he would be stressed over that fact. This is also when stress becomes excessive and harmful to the employee and to the company as well.
Other causes of stress are: tedious tasks; long work hours with low pay; unhealthy working environment; unreasonable work demands; not enough rest breaks; vague job descriptions and expectations; * multiple superiors; conflicting work demands; lack of participation or voice in the decision-making; unfair policies; ineffective communication flow; instability of the job; lack of proper transition for changes; frequent personnel turnover; No or poor chance of career advancement; difficult superiors; harassment or bullying by superiors; as well as unfair competition among staff and other conflicts.
These are but a few of the many causes of stress in the workplace. And unfortunately these are always present in every company. For this reason, work is sadly always associated with stress. It seems like everybody thinks that every job is stressful.
Well, as I have said earlier, it is just normal to be stressed from time to time. However, one should learn to adapt to the work environment so as to reduce stress in the workplace when it borders on becoming excessive.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
More information about dealing with stress in the workplace can be found at the Real Relaxation blog by Konstantin Koss. Konstantin Koss has worked as an aerobic instructor and trained massage therapist. He is also a certified wellness guide. Now he teaches stress management online to the interested public.