Workplace stress – AKA Job Stressors
Workplace Stress or not? The workplace can be stressful or a place to enjoy life. Most people do not realise the choice is theirs.
Work provides an income and fulfils a variety of other needs; – mental and physical exercise, social contact, a feeling of self-worth and competence. However; for many people the work place is a source of soul destroying stress.
There are many factors involved in stress at work, some are outlined below:
Workplace stress 1: The drive for success
Western society is driven by the ‘need to work’:
- To many personal adequacy equates with professional success, we crave status and absolutely hate failure
- The culture tends to demand monetary success and professional status
- This means that many people are placed under stress before they leave home in the morning!
Workplace stress 2: Changing work patterns
Over the last hundred years but much more so over the last four decades the working environment in the UK has changed from predominantly manufacturing to service based. Manual skills are required far less than before. A whole new job market has been created.
- Many people feel lucky to have a job, especially men
- Unemployment, redundancy, shorter or longer working weeks, (often with no overtime paid) and new technology all affect our emotional and physical security
- There are virtually no more jobs for life, there are more short – term contracts and even zero hour contracts.
- The result of all this is financial and emotional burnout is increasing among all levels of the workforce.
- Changes that alter the normal daily routine:
- psychological, physiological and behavioural routines
Workplace stress 3: Working conditions
Physical and mental health is adversely affected by:
- unpleasant working conditions – outside in bad or hot weather
- confined in a small office with no natural light
- high noise levels
- lighting – bright or dull, artificial
- temperature – too hot or cold
- unsocial or excessive hours
Workplace stress 4: Regulations
- Rules – company and statutory
- Regulations – company and statutory
- “Red – Tape” – company and statutory
Workplace stress 5: Overwork
Stress may occur through circumstances such as:
- Unable to cope with the technical or intellectual demands of a particular task
- Long hours on a regular basis
- Unrealistic targets set by bosses
- Unrealistic deadlines
- Frequent interruptions – people, emails, phone calls
Workplace stress 6: Under-work
This may arise from:
- Boredom because there is not enough to do – short of work
- The job is dull, unchallenging and repetitive, (a robot could do it)
Workplace stress 7: Uncertainty
About the individuals work role:
- objectives – What am I doing this for?
- responsibilities – I am trained to do this?
- expectations – Why do they think I can do this?
- a lack of communication and feedback can result in confusion
- helplessness – I have nobody that will help me
Workplace stress 8: Conflict
Stress can arise from:
- work the individual does not want to do
- or conflicts with their personal values
- or conflicts with their social and family values
Workplace stress 9: Responsibility
The greater the level of responsibility the greater the potential level of stress:
- The person is given responsibility without proper training
- Or when they don’t want it
- The person may be shunned by people they previously worked with – (‘you’re not one of us anymore’ syndrome)
Workplace stress 10: Relationships at work
Good relationships with colleagues are crucial but it can break down due to:
- Aggressiveness by others
- Sexual harassment
- Open discussion is essential to encourage positive relationships
- Dealing with unhappy customers