The Factors Contributing to Stress in the Workplace
Stress takes shape in two main forms, everyday stressors, and catastrophic stressors. The stress experienced in the workplace can belong to either of these categories.
Everyday stressors can further be sub-divided into life events and daily hassles (Garrison and Bly, 1997). A change in working hours, trouble with the in-laws, trouble with the boss, too many tasks to complete and not enough time to do it, misplacing or losing things; are all daily hassles.
However, life events have a greater effect on us. Examples of this are sexual difficulties, loss of a job, retirement, death of a spouse natural disasters, and personal injury or loss (Sdorow, 1995).
Scenario: Factors Contributing to Stress at Work
Caroline is working a job from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. being the supervisor, she works two more hours than her subordinates. Every Monday Caroline has to report on the progress in her department and new responsibilities are handed out.
For the past several months, five employees in her section have taken sick leave and her secretary is on maternity leave.
Caroline’s new assistant is not efficient, so she ends up doing most of the administrative. Because of the lack of human resources, it now takes double the time to achieve a departmental goal.
Caroline is also experiencing problems at home.
This single mother has to pick up her 12-year-old daughter from school each evening. Her 3-year-old son is taken care of by a babysitter until she gets home. Caroline’s mother died a month earlier and she’s being divorced.
She does not sleep until 11p.m. at night and she rises at 4 a.m. to prepare her kids for school and cook breakfast. Caroline is on the verge of burnout.
Analyze: Factors Contributing to Stress at Work
The conditions that are affecting Caroline are numerous.
They are both everyday stressors and life events.
Daily hassles greet her both at home and at work, and she does not get the time to de-stress. Not only does she not have time to complete her tasks at work, but she also has many responsibilities and inadequate resources.
These conditions alone would cause her to suffer from high blood pressure and frequent headaches.
The employee supervisor relationship between Caroline and her co-workers is also affected. She frequently makes impossible demands and refers to them in demeaning tones.
Caroline has unknowingly created more stress in her workplace.
Caroline is a prime candidate for the detrimental effects of stress. As a lone mother, she has to raise her pre-puberty teenage daughter, while catering to the needs of her young son.
Also, Caroline has not grieved the loss of her mother, who was her main emotional support.
This leaves her susceptible to post-traumatic stress disorder. This is a syndrome with physiological and physical symptoms that appears as a delayed response after exposure to an extremely emotionally distressing event.
This disease will increase the risk of her having a physical illness; such as cancer or heart disease.
We all experience stress in our daily lives, whether by daily hassles, life events, or natural disasters. The experience of stress is not limited to home, but can also be at work. Daily hassles may include, carrying your children to school, losing the car keys, having a flat tire, or not meeting a deadline at work.
Life events may take the form of a divorce, death of a spouse, a life-threatening illness, or the loss of a job. There is one main stress factor that man has no control of, this is a natural disaster; such as volcano eruptions, flooding, fires, tsunamis, and tornadoes.
Workplace stress is different or special because of the amount of time spent there.
The stress factors experienced at work may include overload, time pressure, organizational change, technology, career challenges, and conflict. With these conditions, one may experience burnout, where you are physically and emotionally exhausted.
One may lose concern for safety and overindulge in drugs and alcohol. Other effects are a loss of concentration, making hasty decisions, and a loss of concern for one’s career (Garrain and Bly, 1997)
The conditions that lead to stress would lessen if we prepare ourselves to deal with the factors we can control and not overreact to the ones we have no power over.
About the writer: Poetess Denise N. Fyffe is a published author of over 30 books, for more than ten years and enjoys Training, Publishing and Counseling. She is a freelance writer for online publications such as Revealing the Christian Life, Jamaica Rose, Entertainment Trail, My Trending Stories among others.
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