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Work Related Stress

Stress, as it pertains to humans, is a situation when a person is subjected to some form of adversity that borders on his limits of endurance. This adversity could be physical, mental or emotional or a combination of any two or all of them. There are a number of situations that could be stressful for many people such as the emotional bewilderment associated with divorce and separation but one area that has attracted much interest in recent times is work related stress.

Situations that Creates Stress at the Workplace

There are a number of situations that are capable of creating stress at the workplace. Examples include:

  1. Excessively long hours of work. This can put a strain on our physical and mental faculties.
  2. Heavy workload can have the same effect if not worse than long hours of work because its rate of wearing down the individual can be alarming.
  3. Job insecurity can also create mental stress as it goes with a fear of loss of one’s source of livelihood.
  4. The threat of job loss or of becoming redundant.
  5. Ongoing conflicts with superiors or subordinates at the place of work could also create stress.
  6. Difficult work schedules which demand time limits on task completion that are difficult to cope with also creates stress at the place of work.
  7. An overly competitive work environment can put people on the edge and give them feelings of helpless inadequacy thus leading to mental stress.

Symptoms of Work Related Stress

Work related stress can have several adverse effects on the physical, mental and/or emotional health of its victims. Some of the physical effects of work related stress include fatigue, tensed muscles, headaches, insomnia, heart palpitations, stomach upsets, and skin problems. The psychological signs that work stress is in place includes such things like being irritable, depressed, anxious, pessimistic, lacking concentration and feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope. Stress also has behavioural effects such as reduced performance levels, increased aggressiveness, greater absenteeism, reduced effectiveness and low productivity, less creativity and initiative, relational problems, mood vacillations, becoming easily frustrated and impatient, loss of interest, and isolationism.

Consequences of Work Relate Stress and how it can be tackled

With the effects of work related stress outlined above, it becomes clear that this phenomenon will definitely have dire consequences on the labour force and the socio-economic life of any nation. Only in recent times has there been an appreciation of the enormity of the problems caused by work related stress and the attendant loss of productivity of a nation’s labour force. For instance in Australia, during the 2004/2005 Fiscal year more than 130 million dollars was paid as compensation to claimants of work related stress. Both on a personal and corporate level, dealing with work stress will involve some levels of recognition of potential stress factors and the application of a risk management methodology to handle it. For instance, some of the potential stressors are bad management practices, poor corporate culture, physical work environment, poor job designs and work scheduling, management of change, and inadequate support.

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