A person in a big city lives in a state of constant tension, having to perform a great number of actions during a day. Frequently, some troubles at work can cause stress. Thus, a large number of the world population suffers from stress in the workplace. These days, this type of stress is one of the major social problems. Despite the fact that stress is a normal state, people should not forget that constant stress in the workplace significantly reduces their productivity. It also has an extremely negative effect on one’s emotional and physical health. Therefore, it is highly significant to find methods to control stress. Fortunately, every employee can independently manage and limit stress at work, and it is only necessary to identify stress symptoms correctly. The purpose of the paper is to study the nature of stress at work, its causes, and find the recommendations on how to limit and manage stress in the workplace.
Causes of Stress in the Workplace
A person can experience many different emotions in the workplace. They can be both negative and positive. These emotions can include satisfaction, joy, and anger. Frequently, certain situations at work can lead to stress. Stress is a set of protective reactions of the organism and the state of tension that occurs in difficult situations. Stress is a body and mind’s response to an event or occurrence. In the workplace, many difficult situations can arise, which allows saying that stress at work is a rather frequent phenomenon. It should be noted that there exists an optimal level of stress that allows one’s work to be more efficient. Nevertheless, if one goes beyond these limits, stress leads to negative consequences.
Stress is often a result of several reasons such as psychological pressure at work, bad conditions at work, and the inability to organize and manage time effectively. To overcome stress, it is necessary to identify its causes. There are eight groups of factors causing stress. The first group includes personal reasons. Emotional reactions and states, a way of thinking, and peculiarities of human behavior can lead to the emergence of stress. It also can be caused by unrealistic expectations, the revaluation of person’s capabilities, and excessive demands. Financial difficulties and inefficient time management are frequent causes of stress.
The second group is interpersonal and group reasons. They include the excessive demands of individuals or groups to the person, the dependence on others, the lack of respect from others, the lack of opportunities to participate in decision-making, and others. The source of stress is the role and interpersonal conflicts.
The third group of reasons is organizational one. It embraces an inadequate management style and methods, a low level of coordination of joint activities, the uncertainty in the definition of objectives, hiding necessary and sufficient information, and the lack of corporate culture in the organization. Stress arises due to the lack of feedback, especially if the subordinate does not know how a manager evaluates the results of his/her operations. High competition within the organization and the achievement of an employee’s career limit can be additional sources of stress.
The so-called social group of factors includes unfavorable physical factors of the working environment, for example, noise, light, temperature, and others. People living in big cities experience problems with transport fatigue, housing problems, and a high crime rate. There is another group associated with cultural factors. These factors include racial, religious, and sexual discrimination as well as rigid expectations of a certain type of behavior from people according to their status or position in society infringing person’s dignity. This group is rather significant as cases of discrimination are highly widespread. Thus, in a 20-country study of psychological risk factors, workplace bullying, violence, and harassment emerged as some of the top risks in the workplace. Consequently, these conditions always lead to stress at work.
The sixth group includes national causes. In many countries around the world, stress factors of this group are economic crises, unemployment, and taxes. It also includes national disasters, wars, and threats of war. International causes of stress are associated with the difficulty of understanding of cultural differences and migration. Causes of stress inherent to a man as a species belong to the global group. Traditionally, the four global issues stand out, having a different significance for different age groups. The adoption of the imperfections of the human body is a stress factor mainly for adolescents. Global causes include painful perception of the aging process, the comparative insignificance of a man in the world, awareness of the irreversibility of death, and others.
Signs of Stress in the Workplace
Stress has an extremely negative effect on health, so stress and anxiety can take on many different forms and create many different signs and symptoms. There are several signs of professional stress, including physical, psychological, and behavioral signs. Physical signs of stress in the workplace are heart pain, headache, the shortness of breath, chest pain, toothache, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, muscle pain, indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation. An employee can also experience fatigue, sweating, decreased immunity, and insomnia. Psychosocial signs of stress at work include anger, anxiety, sadness, and irritability. There can be frequent mood swings, depression, hypersensitivity, spasmodic thoughts, slow response, or apathy. A person can feel helplessness and hopelessness. More to say, there are also behavioral symptoms of stress in the workplace. These signs can be manifested in impatience, overeating or the loss of appetite, irritability, and the increased use of alcohol, nicotine, or drugs. People may experience social withdrawal, including unwillingness to communicate with the colleagues, low productivity, neglect of responsibility, the failure to comply with the elementary rules of personal hygiene, and changing attitudes in the family.
Stress can be short or long, easy or difficult. The effects of stress on the employee primarily depend on the duration of stress factors’ duration, their strength, and regenerative abilities of the employee, according to the research conducted by the best writing service. If stress is light and short, a person can quickly cope with it. At the same time, one can assume that in the case of prolonged stress, problems of the individual will only increase. In accordance with the theory of Hans Selye, a human body exhausted by constant stresses gradually loses its ability to recover. Confrontation stress weakens people both physically and psychologically. This condition is called exhaustion, when emotionally devastated workers move away from work feeling helpless.
Employees, whose strength fades, are prone to constant complaints. They link their mistakes with the actions of other people and become extremely irritable. Alienation, which they experience, encourages them to think about leaving work and seeking opportunities at a new place or even changing their profession. In addition to increasing staff turnover, exhaustion leads to higher rates of absenteeism for work and reduced productivity.
In Japan, there is an equivalent term to exhaustion. It is called karoshi or sudden death in the workplace. It is believed that its cause is an overload in the labor process, culminating in getting a heart attack or stroke. Once, karoshi was a source of pride like the harakiri of the samurai. However, about 10,000 deaths per year have required the use of preventive measures. The Japanese corporations force workers to go into well-deserved vacation and promote diets, physical exercises, and managing the level of stress.
Another bad result of stress is moral injury, the source of which is a direct threat to the safety of workers. Three types of moral injury are widespread in the workplace - staff illness, survival of a wave of cuts, and post-traumatic stress disorder as the result of violence at work. Moral injury in the workplace means the destruction of self-esteem of employees, undermining of their belief in the abilities as the result of prejudice at work, unfair dismissal, discrimination, or a sense of employee’s inability to achieve the expected performance. In each of these cases, a worker can take on the responsibility inexpedient for such an event and feel like a victim of circumstances.
How to Control Stress
Since stress in the workplace has quite a variety of negative consequences for human health, it is extremely important to find methods how to control it. First, a person should be friendly with the colleagues. On should remember that a healthy environment in the workplace is a pledge of high productivity and a state without stress. It is highly important to follow the principles of time management because if a person manages time, there are no stressful situations. A person should regularly perform simple physical exercises before going to work and during the breaks since they improve blood circulation and give strength.
Nowadays, stress in the workplace is considered an extremely dangerous and widespread problem that touches individuals as well as companies. When people are under the influence of stress, they become angry and irritable. Such a state greatly affects their quality of work and productivity. Therefore, it is better to prevent stress than to deal with its unpredictable effects in the workplace. In addition, not only does occupational stress reduce productivity, impairs relationships with leaders, colleagues, and subordinates, but it has a very detrimental effect on health. After all, the most dangerous in stress at work is its duration and the lack of capacity to respond adequately to the stimulus. It should be noted that it is impossible to remove all stressors completely. Nevertheless, with due attention to the problem of work-related stress, it is possible to significantly improve the quality and productivity of employees.