Workplace Stress - Introduction


Workplace Stress, also known as Occupational Stress is the stress that one gets from working at his job. Chief causes are unrealistic short-term goals, unexpected responsibility-sharing, and high expectations. While the job itself might not be stress-inducing, the way it is done and the working environment are crucial factors in creating stress.

Workplace Stress is also related to pressure from seniors and peers and in the absence of support from colleagues. In the US, an overwhelming number of people identify having no control or say in their workplace as the biggest cause of stress in their lives. When workplace stress is not controlled and properly channelized, it can create a lot of coping issues and unreliability.

Occupational Stress

According to The Random House Dictionary, Stress can be defined as physical, mental, or emotional strain caused by a situation or an occurrence of an event. The word stress is derived from a Latin word which means distress. We all face situations where we are so stressed out and feel so unbalanced that we tend to overlook all tasks that we know are important because we cannot manage a single thing.

Stress is different for different people

Stress is different for different people, so it is important to address stress differently. For example, you are too busy to schedule one hour for exercise, so simply try taking stairs to your office instead of lift, if your office is near to your house try walking. Instead of treating things like they are adding more too your stressful life try replacing it with things that soothes you.

It is good to solve your problems on your own, but there are cases when you might need a hand or two to help you get over the stressful events. It is always recommended to get help from third party to whom you can look up to, share your problems and get some help.

Now the question is where to ask for help? The first place to start is your workplace. Now-a-days company’s offer employee assistance programs to help them get over stressful events. In case your company is not one of them, try some hotlines in your area which provide these services.

Defining Workplace Stress

Defining Stress

Sometimes it may be difficult to cope with workplace stress, but the skills of handling stress changes from person to person. The cause of your stress and your approach to handle it may be way different from that of your friend.

Generally, we think that stress is related to something negative, but we don't have to look at it that way. Some stress is helpful, actually to drive people towards job completion. As you may observe, stress in itself can be used for positive purposes. This type of stress is known as Eustress. In simple words, Eustress is the stress that leaves a positive effect, or is motivating in nature. It results in a positive outcome. Such stresses help people in getting good performances.

You can relate to this type of stress if you are familiar with the following scenarios −

  • Running and winning a close race.
  • Riding a big roller coaster ride.
  • Watching a scary movie.

All these situations cause physical, emotional and mental strain, but these pressure scenarios release positive emotions and makes us happy. This is a form of stress too. So, stress is not always negative; we have positive stress too which makes our life dynamic, unlike the lives that people without any tension or stress live- dull, monotonous, and boring.

These kinds of stress are completely different from the stress disorders that people get exposed to in their professional lives. Workplace Stress is created from working in unsuitable and improper conditions and from working in an ill-suited job.

Problems Caused by Stress Factors

Stress factors have the ability to induce a range of disorders, including psychological issues like depression, anxiety, etc. They also are the cause of emotional instability like irritation, dissatisfaction, tension and fatigue. In addition to that, workplace stress can cause changes in behavior and cognitive functioning like increased levels of aggression and concentration-lapses.

In situations where stress doesn’t cause any psychological or physical damage, it still accounts of big drops in productivity. Stressed-out employees yield poor performances, are less receptive, and engage in higher absenteeism. These conditions lead to deviant behavior, health-related expenses and increased chances of workplace injury.

The ability of an employee to cope with the number of hours expected of him to work, rate of production, performance standards, volume of work, and the deadlines that he is expected to deliver his output, all play a major role in creating stress. Doctors have observed a deeply negative impact on mental health of people who work in night shifts.