Defining biologically, the reaction of a person in response to his/her environmental condition or towards a stimulus is termed as stress. At work, a person faces stress when there is a mismatch between the resources or capabilities and the demand of the job. However, certain stress at workplaces is normal, but when it exceeds the limit, stress affects a person’s professional life as well as personal life (Jones & Bright, 2001). It reduces the productivity of the employee and often affects the health condition (Jones & Bright, 2001). The paper reflects on the reasons behind stress at the workplace. Then it moves on to evaluate Impact of stress on employees and the reasons why management needs to address the issues of stress in employees. Then it moves on to discuss the methods that organizations can undertake to resolve stress. The paper focuses on employee welfare programs and improving the workforce environment.
Reasons behind stress at the workplace
Stress is experienced in a number of ways. It has been found that the job demand and employee’s perception to deal with the pressure is often the cause of stress. The various situations where stress arises are include designs of the work process that allow less flexibility, no breaks for long time, longer working hours, certain corporate management has a strict work policy which are not friendly to its employees and does not allow the employee any scope of liberty, poor interpersonal relationships, multiple work roles, career concerns like job insecurity or low career prospect, environmental conditions like poor or unsafe work place (Blaug, et.al., 2007). It is crucial in present times that there be effective balance in work and life in order to manage stress and also avoid it. It is extremely important that there is a balance between various elements of work and the levels of tension.
Michie in the article Causes and management of stress at work (2002) states that there needs to be an understanding of the causes of stress in order to be able to manage it effectively. Managing stress in organisations require an important step in creating a happy work environment which helps enable an effective balance and better efficiency as well. Playing dual roles at times creates unnecessary pressure and tension which lowers performance levels. How much ever competitive an individual might be, he or she cannot avoid fatigue, time crunch or work stress. It’s very crucial to at least balance these, if not avoid completely. So, it is crucial that there be focus on establishing a better level of control and balance in work and temperaments (Schwarzer, 2013). It is important to focus on ensuring that there be effective balance and management of stress, especially in the health care sector. It implies that there is a need to focus on balancing stress in one's own life. Recognizing the importance of the roles that an employee plays helps him or her understand expectations of others as challenges and milestones in self development, rather than look at it as stress, work or pressure. This could ease out things a bit, even without changing anything else except a view point and help balance work and life better. In present times of stress and high levels of competition, it is crucial that there is a creation of a thought process where in stress can be avoided (Kupperschmidt, et.al., 2010).
Impact of stress on employees
Occupational stress has a vast impact on employee’s personal life, professional life and social life (Harkness, et.al., 2005). Stressful employees tend to feel irritable, anxious, or depressed. They have fatigue and sleeping problems. Their health condition deteriorates. Also, sometimes muscle tension or headaches and Stomach problems are observed. At workplace, they are not able to concentrate and lose interest for work (Harkness, et.al., 2005). They remain socially withdrawn. Sometimes, people start using drugs and alcohols.
Reasons why management needs to address the issues of stress in employees
Being a good manager in a company does not only involve proper management of funds and marketing strategies however managing talents to make the company more possible to achieve its goal (Sears, 2003). Although it is imperative to invest resources to understand the external customer satisfaction and dynamics of business environment, an equally proportionate investment should be made by the management to understand employee satisfaction and employee well being (Gremler, et al., 1993). When employees display positive affective dispositions towards their jobs, there is a heightened sense on their part to satisfy customer needs by responding positively to customer requests, effectively handling service failure, and addressing customer problems. This goes to show that when managers respond favorably to employee needs and that they are not under work stress, and are spontaneous in addressing employee concerns, to the point of overall satisfaction, employees extend the same thought process to satisfying customer and business needs. This in turn will help the company to improve productivity of employees and as a result the profitability of the company improves.
Methods that organizations can undertake to resolve stress
Introducing employee wellness programs
Every individual has his or her own way of distressing oneself. It is important to identify how easily the stress could be removed and the person can come back to focus and concentrate on his work (Blaug, et.al., 2007). However distressing is not a one time activity. It has to be continued and in a routine manner so that people can deal easily with the everyday pressure at work and maintain the performance and mental peace. The basic idea of implementing wellness programs in an organization is to improve employee efficiency and productivity by improving their health. Employer sponsored wellness programs are long term plans of an organization to grow a culture of psychological and physiological wellbeing of employees. (Janice, 1997). Wellness programs benefits the health of the human resource of the organization and is applied by employers to encourage health awareness about personal and public health in the organization to achieve reduced stress levels among employees.
Physical activities: these include regular physical activities like exercise, swimming, biking, and dancing, etc. reduce stress hormones of the body.
Sports and other recreational activities: participation in sports helps reduce stress. This distracts the human mind from the reason of stress and reduces tension. Different participatory sports like tennis, squash, racquetball, and handball give a lot of work out also.
Passive alternatives: meditation, yoga, hypnosis are few passive alternatives. Done repetitively, they bring relaxation (Jones & Bright, 2001).
Creative and other alternatives: the arts, crafts, hobbies and games should be undertaken regularly as they help to reduce pressure from mind.
Character development: Character development and developing the personality of an individual can largely improve confidence of individuals and makes them better equipped to handle work pressure and reduce stress. Again, good manners form the basis of relationships both in personal and professional life. They help in building strong interpersonal relationships, communicate clearly and connect with others. This character development helps to control stress management, contribute to manners, and strengthen dealings with the public.
Wellness programs reduce the extremely high health care costs of employees that an organization incurs (Long, 2007). The indirect cost of an organization due to employee absenteeism is almost twice the costs related to treatment and medicines (Janice, 1997). Low productivity due to absenteesm is a concern for the employers. Health programs reduce the number of sick leaves by approximately 27%, health costs by around 28% and disability by 33 % approx (Chapman, 1999). Intangible benefits for the company from the wellness programs include improved employee morale, health and productivity, employee retention, and better image building for the company (Janice, 1997). The companies that implement elaborate wellness programs benefit from improved employee loyalty and high satisfaction levels. This also improves the reputation of the company as a recruiter (Berry, et.al., 2010). The wellness programs help in mitigating the high cost of health insurance for both the employer and employees to a large extent. The employer gains 6 USD of savings for every dollar that is invested in the wellness programs (Berry, et.al., 2010).
Improving workplace environment
Work environment, promoting employee well being and safety attributes to employee retention. Legislations specify the safety requirements for protecting the health of staff and make the work environment healthy. When an organisation treats employees equally and communicates clearly the rules and regulations of their work, the organisation might be called a fair organisation (Armstrong, 2003). Workplace that treat employees equitably, protects employees from harassment, implements strategies for reducing stress, has opportunities to realise employee’s full potential. To start with, generating safe work surroundings is important to the success of any business or company and is considered as one among the best ways to keep hold of staff and enhance productivity. Although, it might cost to execute safe practices as well as install safety equipments, the impact of not taking any action could prove to be very serious. The management holds the responsibility of ensuring health and safety within the workplace. It must be ensured that the business does not produce stress, health and safety issues for the staff members, customers and the public as a whole. It would also offer the business with a powerful basis to attain long-term sustainability and success. Moreover, ensuring stress free environment and health at workplace could also trim down employee illness and injury related costs, comprising of medical care, disability benefit costs and lastly, sick leave.
In summary, the assignment discusses about stress at workplace, how it is experienced and methods to handle it. In today’s competitive work environment mismatch between the resources or capabilities and the demand of the job often leads to stress (Harkness, et.al., 2005). The primary causes behind stress are job demand and employee’s perception to deal with the pressure is often the cause of stress. The methods to relieve stress include wellness programs including physical activities, sports and other recreational activities, creative alternatives, and passive alternatives and improving the work environment. Professional stress affects personal life, professional life, social life and health of employees.
Armstrong, M. (2003). A Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice, 10th ed.
Kogan Page Publishers.
Blaug, R., Kenyon, A. & Lekhi, R. (2007). Stress at Work- A report prepared for The Work Foundation’s Principal Partners. The Work Foundation. Retrived from http://www.theworkfoundation.com/downloadpublication/report/69_69_stress_at_work.pdf
Berry, L.L., Mirabito, A.M. & Baun, W.B. (2010). What’s the Hard Return on Employee
Wellness Programs? Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from
Chenoweth, D. H. (1998). Worksite Health Promotion. Human Kinetics: United States of America.
Gremler, D. D., Bitner, M. J., & Evans, K. R. (1994).The internal service encounter.International Journal of Service Industry Management, 5 (2), 34-56.
Harkness, A., Long, B., Bermbach, N., Patterson, K., Jordan, S. & Kahn, H. (2005).
Talking about stress at work: Discourse analysis and implications for stress
Interventions. Work and Stress, 19.
Jones, F. & Bright, J. (2001). Stress: Myth, Theory and Research. Pearson Education.
Janice, H. T. S. (1997). Corporate Wellness Programmes in Singapore: Effect on Stress, Satisfaction and Absenteeism. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 12 (3). Retrieved s from Emerald database.
Kupperschmidt, B., Kientz, E., Ward, J. & Reinholz, B. (2010). A Healthy Work Environment: It Begins With You. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 15 (1).
Long, J. (2007). Wellness Program Seen as Way to Stop Health Care Costs. San Diego Business Journal. 5. Retrieved from Emerald database.
Michie, M. (2002). Causes and management of stress at work. Occup Env Med, 59, pp.67-72s
Retrieved from http://oem.bmj.com/content/59/1/67.long
Schwarzer, R. (2013). Stress and Coping Resources: Theory and Review. Retrieved from http://web.fu-berlin.de/gesund/publicat/ehps_cd/health/stress.htm
Sears, D. (2003). Successful talent strategies. New York: AMACOM.