Workplace Induced Stress

Ever woke up and felt so tired and demoralized to go to work? Ever just wished that you could quit your crappy job but you had no option? Or funny yet, ever wondered if you could get away with punching your boss or workmate in the face? Yes? Then you might be going through workplace stresses.

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So what are work place induced stresses?

Workplace stress is the harmful physical and emotional responses that can happen when there is a conflict between job demands on an employee and amount of control an employee has over meeting these demands.

Stress is normal and workplace stress is inevitable; both physical and mental. Stress can also be positive, hence, it is important to determine the right amount versus the wrong amount of stress. This will in turn help one to know how best to tackle the situation.

There are various causes of workplace stress. This can be work content or work context. Some causes of work content stress include: high workloads, lack of skills to do a job, long working hours, or insufficient workloads. Some causes of work context stress include: conflicts at work, poor working relationships with fellow colleagues, poor working spaces or over management.

The following are common causes of workplace stress today:

Long hours- Long hours are a number one source of work related stresses. When an individual is made to work for log hours, they are overwhelmed, lack motivation and easily lose concentration. Winnie was working in a hotel and was supposed to work 8 hours during the day. But lately, her boss would not allow her to go home at the required time and would make her work for 12 hours straight without overtime. Winnie became tired and fatigued; her performance deteriorated and was always frustrated. Eventually, she quit.

Conflict – Interpersonal disagreements between management and employees and arguments among colleagues create a negative environment for work to thrive especially when prolonged or left unresolved. As a result, these issues can lead to aggression, withdrawal and even stress. This affects a person’s productivity and also one’s state of mind.  

Reducing-Workplace-Conflict

Lack of support – Lack of interpersonal support and poor working relationships can be detrimental to one’s efficiency and work flow especially in team related tasks. John was having a hard time working with Jane because she was regularly late in submitting her daily sales orders. John is Jane’s supervisor and was put on performance improvement plan for being consistently late in submitting reports. John is now overwhelmed with performance pressure and still working with Jane whose lack of team work has led to his troubles at work.  

Lack of proper resources and equipment- When an employee is expected to work without the proper resources and equipment, he becomes unproductive and his full potential is not utilized. Kevin was working as a sales agent and expected to call clients and deliver goods. Unfortunately, his boss never provided airtime, transport or any kind of remuneration as discussed. He was demoralized and frustrated and eventually ended up spending a lot than what he earned.

Heavy workload– Heavy workload is also a serious reason as to why work place stresses arise. When an employee is given a lot of work than usual and pressured to do it in a small amount of time, then stress arises.

Insufficient workloads – A person will feel his/her skill is being underused, hence, feeling insecure in their job. Mark who was a very good employee quit his job because he felt he was not being developed and worried about his job security. Therefore, he left his job to look for other opportunities.

Discrimination- Discrimination is seen everywhere in the world, and the workplace is no exception. Gender, ethnic, racial, and physical disabilities are examples most people face in the workplace. Susan was constantly body shamed in her workplace for being plus size by her colleagues. She was psychologically affected and her work performance deteriorated and never enjoyed going to work.

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Sexual harassment – This is unwelcome sexual advances or conduct of a sexual nature which interferes with the performance of an individual’s job or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. You see, Mary has been worried sick about the possible future of her job at an advertising agency she has been working for two years. This is as a result of turning down sexual advances from her boss who wanted some sort of “entanglement” with her. The boss has since been hostile to Mary with threats of laying her off ever since she turned him down. In turn, Mary has been walking on egg shells not knowing what will be in store for her.       

Poor physical working environment – Poor working conditions can include things such as inadequate space, noise, poor lighting, lack of protective gear, excessive heat or cold etc. A conducive environment enhances a person’s productivity and performance.

So how can you tell that you are undergoing work place induced stresses? Below are some symptoms an individual may go through when undergoing this type of stress.

Physical

  • Headaches
  • Gastrointestinal upsets
  • Dermatological disorders
  • Fatigue
  • Heart palpitations

Behavioral

  • Aggression
  • Lack of enthusiasm in work performance
  • Lower tolerance of frustration
  • Impatient with bosses and colleagues
  • Diminished creativity and initiative
  • An increase in sick days
  • Intentional absenteeism

Psychological

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Reduced ability to concentrate

In conclusion, it is crucial for one to recognize possible triggers of stress at work so that you can strike a balance and also know how to cope, reduce and release pressure where possible. Talking over your concerns with the relevant authority like human resources might help mitigate the situation. Consequently, mental well-being at work will be enhanced. But in the event that the situation does not become better despite efforts to alleviate the stresses, you may need to consider another job change

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