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The Psychological health of the employee has become a significant concern of the organizations. An employee in the workplace with bad psychological health will experience stress in the workplace, frustration, directly affecting his performance. Besides, an employee’s stress can affect the safety of other employees, employers, and the organization.
Bad psychological health directs to lower employee productivity, decreased motivation, and increased errors and accidents. Hence, it is essential to understand the stress of its moderating factors, symptoms, and organizational interventions.
Stress management by individual approach and organizational wellness program is required to reduce an employee’s mental stress. Employee’s stress increase problems in the organizations. It is a dynamic condition in which an individual is confronted with an opportunity, demand; Stress is not a bad…It just how you deal with it. Even though stress is usually taken in a negative context, it also has positive values.
Workplace issues are directly linked to both physical and mental illness. Io psychology deals with individual behavior in a social work context. However, its multi-approach. There are many psychosocial and environmental factors influence employee behavior.
In applied psychology, there are many theories like Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) and Theory of Planned Behaviour, which help determine the issues with employees at the workplace. These theories are useful for the designation of health remoting behaviors for the self-management of chronic diseases such as mental stress, depression, etc. the understanding of health psychology at the workplace prevents mental illness and maintains the right mental health of employees. What affects the most to the employee at the workplace? Isn’t it all start with Stress or Dealing with Stress…!
Stress is an individual response to distressing factors in the environment and the consequences of such a reaction. Put “its an adaptive response to an external situation” that results in physical psychological or behavioral deviations for organizational participants.
The physical or environmental demands that cause stress are called STRESSORS. Stress manifests itself both positively or negatively. Positive ( Eustress) stress provides an opportunity to gain something. Negative stress negatively affects the mental and physical well-being of the person. It may result in heart problems, drug abuse, Mental breakdown, skin problem, etc.
Physiological Effects of Stress:
the medical and health sciences professionals did quite a few studies on the effects of stress. They led to the conclusion that stress disturb employees health and can create issues such as;
- Changes in metabolism
- Increase heart and breathing rates
- Increase blood pressure
- Risk of heart attack
- High cholesterol in the blood
- Ulcers, arthritis, paralysis
- Frequent cold and fever
These things not only negatively affects the individual but also the workplace. People with these health problems are frequently absent, which affects the productivity of an organization. One recent study linked stressful job demands to increased susceptibility to upper respiratory illness and impaired immune system functioning, especially for individuals with low self-efficiency.
Individual Differences in Stress:
Some individual takes stressful situations as a challenge while they submerge others. The unique difference varies from person to person. Every person has a different tendency and capacity to deal with stress at the workplace. The relationship between stress and stressors can be understood in four workplace variables, i.e., i. Perception ii. Job Experience iii. Social Support iv. Personality.
Perception is an essential factor which affects the relationship between stress condition and an employee’s reaction to it. Stress potential doesn’t lie in the actual needs; it lies in the employee’s understanding of those conditions. People pick up coping mechanisms to deal with stress as time passes by. High-grade members of the organization encounter less stress because they are used to coping up with stress in the same environment with time.
The social relationship with co-workers or superiors can affect the impact of stress. Social support counter or balances the harmful effects of high strain jobs. Personality type (Different types of individual) is strongly related to mental stress. Some personalities “A” are extremely competitive, highly devoted to work, and have a strong sense of urgency. They are more aggressive, impatient, and highly work-oriented. Some other Type personality “B” is less competitive, less devoted to work, and has a weaker sense of time urgency. Such people feel less conflict with others and have a balanced, relaxed approach to life. They can work at a constant pace. Type A personality is more prone to Heart attacks, Ulcers, Hypertension, and Stress than type “B” personality.
Studies have shown that a typical person works about 40 to 50 hours a week, but the other 120 plus non-work are for family, social groups, etc. An employee’s factors such as family, personal economic problems, medical issues also affect mental health. Studies also have shown that if an employee can balance work and family matters, then his productivity is positively affected. But the disparity between these two can lead to disturbance and stress.
People hold family and personal relationship very clear. Marital difficulties, breakups, indiscipline children, etc. can create stress for employees, which indirectly affects their work and productivity. Financial problems such as overburden of loan taken, more demands from family members, or economic issues can stress employees. These issues create stress in the workplace in some form. These issues also result in a lack of confidence, concentration, and interest in the jobs.
Employees under high stress take unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking, etc., which hinder their workplace performance. Balancing family issues and work is a challenging task for every employee. Some employees also tend to develop stress that reflects in the workplace because of the long travel they do to reach the workplace(in metro cities like New York, Mumbai, etc.); thus, the area of residence of an employee also matters.
Stress symptoms expressed in the workplace may be a reflection of family problems. Similarly, an individual who is overloaded and frustrated in his workplace can affect the harmony and relationship in the family’s frustration, and dissatisfaction in the workplace may affect the peace and understanding within the family environment.
STRESSORS IN THE WORKPLACE
#1. Occupational Demands:
Few jobs are more demanding and stressful such as the job of a policeman, fireman, Pilot, security, doctors, etc. these jobs require a high rate of decision making and exchange of information from each other. Employees in the workplace often struggle to give their 100 % to work all the time as it demands. This challenge to perform and keeping up with occupational demands in the workplace act as a stressor for an employee.
#2. Role Conflict:
If an employee is working under multiple bosses, and each has a different expectation from him, it may lead to stress while coping with everyone’s expectations.
#3. Work overload or underload:
Overload leads to tremendous pressure on the employee, resulting in stress in the workplace. If an employee doesn’t have good work, it may also lead to boredom, monotony, and less interest. Hence hiring the right candidate with the right potential to do a particular job is a must.
#4. Career Concern:
if an employee feels he/she is getting far behind the promotion ladder and can’t experience the growth stresses them. He/she might get disturbed and affect productivity in the workplace; they may feel stagnant more likely to experience stress for a long time.
#5. Personal vs. Work life:
The intersection of work commitment and personal commitments often clashes; an employee often fails to manage it. This intersection act as a stressor and causes stress to the employee and stress in the workplace.
#6. Role Ambiguity:
When the employee feels a lack of clarity in their work and expectations, it causes them excessive pressure and stress. To avoid such stressors and stress in the workplace, the employee should be clear about the role they are supposed to play.
#7. Poor Working Conditions:
Work timings, safety always concern the employee. An employee may experience the organizations asking extra hours to work regularly may cause them stress. Under such circumstances, it’s advisable to seek help with concern person, or it provoked to feel stressed and disturbed.
#8. Lack of Cohesiveness:
Working with the team without unity in members, mistrust, jealousy, fights, conflicts within the group, etc. leads to stress such stressors in the workplace need to resolve with urgent attention.
#9 Faulty organizational Policies or Process:
poor communication, inflexible rules, unfair promotions can lead to severe stress.
#10. Unhealthy Competition:
Unhealthy competition within the team members or outside the team can add pressure to an employee.
Stress in the workplace – Management Strategies.
A stressed-out employee can use several strategies to muddle through stress like;
Biofeedback- A biofeedback piece of equipment used to direct people to detect and control stress-related warning signs such as increased blood pressure, heart rate. It helps the person to reduce the adverse effect of stress to some extent.
Relaxation & Meditation– Relaxation involves slow and deep breathing, muscle control, and mind control. Studies indicate that 20 minutes of meditation can reduce stress significantly.
Cognitive Restructuring – It’s Psychological applied technique to understand irrational or maladaptive thoughts that instigate stress are identified. Then these thoughts are swapped by more rational and reasonable thoughts.
Time Management- Inadequate Time management upshots the feeling of overload, missed schedules, etc. The popular A, B, C principles guide to efficiently managing the time to bring down the surface of stress
a. Making daily To-do lists and functioning actively on it.
b. Prioritizing the activities by the importance of urgency. Scheduling activities accordingly.
c. Carrying the most demanding jobs during a highly productive time of the daily cycle.
Social Support– A good and strong social support network helps reduce stress TALK to your close ones about how you feel and SPEAK what you are going through. Sharing tension and worries with someone reduces stress like medicine and gives a more objective perspective.
EMPLOYEE WELFARE STRATEGIES TO DEAL WITH STRESSORS AND STRESS IN THE WORKPLACE.
These are many causes of stress in general, as we read above. If they are changed or modified, it can reduce the pressure of the employees. We can adopt strategies in the workplace.
- Improvement in the working environment.
- Job redesign to eliminate stressors.
- Change in workload and deadlines
- Structural reorganization
- More flexible hours and work schedules.
- Goal setting programs, Management by objectives
- More employee’s participation in planning, decision, changes, etc.
- Workshops in role clarity and role analysis.
In the big organizations where 100s of employees work, it’s relatively impossible to resolve issues and stressors personally. Hence, it’s suggested to run various wellness programs regularly to reduce their stress and look after the well-being of the employees. Such wellness programs are.
Stress Management Programs
- Employee Assistant Programs (EAPS)
- Counselling and examination periodically
- Workshops on Time Management.
- Workshops on burnout to assist employees in cognizing its nature and symptoms.
- Training in relaxation techniques.
- Physical fitness programs.
Reading all about stress in the workplace, I can assure you it’s not the situations stress us; it’s our reactions to it.
The nuclear warhead to counter stress
is our ability to choose
one thought over another.