Workplace stress or Occupational stress is an unfairly common thing observed among many employees these days. The result of conceived pressure from the environment when combined with the strain in the mind, results in stress. Workplace stress could be because of the lack of resources or ability to meet the required demands or needs in the allotted time. Hence this occupational stress can be caused when there is a conflict between the job demands of the employee and the control the employee has over the situation or demand.

Stress in the workplace can stem from one or many reasons. In some, it springs from the work one needs to complete effectively in the given time, while in some it arises when someone else does the work effectively than oneself. In some cases, stress fills the air though you really have nothing to worry about. In most of the workplaces, when the target date is arrived, stress is a common reason for everyone to make themselves better. This is an example where stress benefits us.

Stress: An Overview and its Causes GN | Wellness Hub

Everyone has a common question whether stress is good or bad. Actually, it is both. Stress can be good as well as bad. Good stress motivates us, keeps us energized and functional. It is called as Eustress. While bad stress makes us nervous, demotivates and makes us dysfunctional. It is called as Distress.

What is Stress?

In our daily life, apart from coping up with the daily activities and troubles, few things also run unrecognizably as subtle thoughts. These thoughts take a major part in balancing the mental state of the mind. The tension and anxiousness they create lead to the Stress.

It was found that at least one out of five people experience stress which is actually high levels of negative stress stretching at least 15 days or more per month. Being stressed out has thus become a universal human phenomenon that affects almost everyone. Stress is of both positive and negative kinds and we have already experienced them often. Stress is actually a reaction to a changing and demanding environment. To be more frank, Stress is about our capacity to handle the change though it makes us feel good or bad.

Eustress or Positive Stress

Stress involves the set of emotional, physical and cognitive reactions to a change. This change can be good, making the stress considered as Positive stress or Eustress. Such changes excite us in different ways.

For example, attending a job interview makes you feel stressed. But at the same time, it creates a kind of excitement like how the interview could be and what questions could you be facing. In the same way, the stress faced before a client presentation or before facing the appraisal interview could be really exciting. This is called Eustress or positive stress. Such a kind of stress helps you to excel in life.

Symptoms of Eustress

  • Positive stress exists for a shorter term
  • It motivates us
  • Lets us focus our energy
  • Makes us feel excited
  • Improves performance
  • Perceived as being there within our capabilities

Distress or Negative Stress

Negative stress or Distress, when exists in an individual, the anxiety levels get high with a sense of unpleasantness clouding over. Distress squeezes out the energy making the person tensed and weak. This creates a feeling of helplessness wherein a person could feel it as his incapability.

For example, the inadequate resources that are needed to deliver the client’s work in time create tension and stress. A technical skill or a professional qualification that is lacking to complete a task within the expected deadlines would create high stress. The risk of losing a bread-winning job is another greatest stress factor.

Symptoms of Distress

  • Negative stress can exist for a shorter or longer term
  • It causes anxiety and concern
  • Makes us feel unpleasant
  • Decreases our performance
  • This can lead to mental and physical problems
  • It is perceived as outside of our coping abilities

Factors of Workplace stress

There could be various factors of workplace stress. A particular situation could result in Eustress or Distress. It depends upon how the individual thinks, emotes and reacts.

The stress of a person depends on

  • How he thinks about the stressor
  • How he perceives his capabilities of handling it
  • How intensely it creates demands on him
  • How long it lasts etc.

All the factors collectively express whether he faces stress or not and what kind of stress it would be.

The factors of stress that an employee could face are

  • Job insecurity
  • Lack of proper training for the job
  • Excessive job demands
  • Differences of opinions and conflicts with teammates or colleagues
  • Inadequate authority that is necessary to carry out the tasks in job
  • Making presentation before everyone
  • Unproductive and time consuming meetings
  • Commuting to office and having business trips etc.

Stress can be faced both by employees and by the employer as well. In an organization, different levels of hierarchical responsibilities create different tensions to the people involved in a particular task. Stress is affecting from the low-level operational staff to the higher level entrepreneurs with various kinds of intensities. The money investing entrepreneurs or employers face another level stress that could be the result of

  • Sudden decrease in profits
  • Tension of meeting the break even point
  • Investments in other businesses
  • Shares and share market values
  • Trading and expansions of business
  • Updating according to the present trend
  • Future scope of the business
  • Maintenance and growing through ups and downs

What should be done?

It is said that, “The ability to have some control over your own work load definitely contributes to the impact the work has on your life.” Having the control over your work load reduces high office stress that actually results in fatigue, which could even make you drowsy during office hours.

Managing the work stress and creating a work life balance is the biggest issue now-a-days. For some, the professional demands are in such a way that they need to attend the duties even during their personal time. The professions like journalism, police department, doctors, fire department and some technical jobs like hardware or network engineer and some of the software professionals come under this category. We definitely need to find a way out of all these tensions. One needs to take a break from the routine life and have some personal space.

Take time to Relax

For some years now, the things that we use to relax ourselves have changed drastically.  Lying in a sofa in front of a television set could find relaxing to some, but the techniques like meditation, deep breathing and mindfulness help us a lot more in relaxing rather than such engaging activities.

These amazing techniques help you to have a control on your thoughts and reduce your stress to a great extent. To handle various mental disorders like stress, work pressure, anxiety, depression, tension, peer pressure etc. that are the by-products of your hard working day, you need an expert counselor.

Online counseling for Occupational Stress

Online counselling is as effective as face-to-face counselling. People choose online counselling because of its advantages. With a simple wi-fi connection and a smart phone or a laptop, a client can get connected with a counsellor from a far off distance. Though you are on a business trip or in the mid of a vacation, connecting with your counsellor becomes easier than coming down to meet in person.

The facility of online counseling lets you to have a session in your break time, being in your own room. Book an appointment with one of the experienced psychological experts to attain a great balance in your life, handling any kind of scenarios under any circumstances.

Apart from providing online counseling, Wellness Hub has started a new employee wellness program, called EWA that lets a company improve the performance of all of its employees as a whole, providing an encouraging environment that boosts its output.

EWA

Workplace or office is the place where you spend most of your time in your life. It is the most productive part of your day, whether it is 8 hours or more. Hence the ambiance of your work place should be so comfortable for you to concentrate on the work. Any kind of office politics, internal conflicts, sexual assaults, racism, bossism, loop holes of hierarchical system etc. which bother you should be dealt immediately with the help of a good counsellor.

Wellness Hub provides an Employee wellness program called EWA (Employee Wellness Audit) to identify the workplace stress, an employee is undergoing. Surveys are conducted through this program to identify the mode, reason and nature of the stress and anxiety that a particular employee is facing. There are three main surveys called general survey, pulse survey and Life cycle survey that are conducted in specific stages of the employment. The results of these surveys are passed on to the administration with some valuable suggestions to make room for the improvement of workplace environment. This paves the way for a great cooperation between the employees and the organization, which reduces the stress of the employees and at the same time, increases the output of the company.


Prof. Madhu Kosuri

I have completed 30 years of teaching and research in psychology at the Department of Psychology and Parapsychology, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, India.

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