Occupational stress is a very negative factor at work. It can not only damage the health of an employee, but also contribute to a reduction in the level of efficiency and productivity in the company. The consequences of stress in the workplace affect the employee as much as the organization. That is why it is so important to know how to prevent this unfavorable element from occurring in the work environment.
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What Is Work Stress?
Occupational stress occurs when the supervisor’s requirements and pressures on the employee exceed their skills and knowledge. The employee is unable to meet the employer’s expectations, which creates stress and frustration. Stress can arise in a variety of circumstances, but the risk of it escalating is greatest when the employee feels that he has little support from his supervisor and colleagues, and when he or she has little control over the job.
In this sense, a healthy workplace is one in which the pressure on the employee is adequate to his skills, resources and the support the employee receives from the team.
According to the WHO definition, health is not so much a state of absence of disease, but a positive physical, mental and social state. In a healthy working environment, not only is the influence of unfavorable factors not observed, but health is promoted.
The Causes Of Stress
Factors that increase the risk of occupational stress can be grouped into several categories. The 8 main categories of stressors are presented below:
Nature of work: monotonous tasks, no differentiation at work.
Workload: too many or too few responsibilities, working under time pressure.
Working hours: strict working hours (inflexible working hours).
Career development: lack of job security, no possibility of promotion, having too high or too low qualifications for the job.
Role in the organization: unclear role and poorly defined responsibilities in the company, conflict of roles within the same job.
Interpersonal relations: inadequate, rude, unsupported supervisor, poor relations with co-workers.
Organizational culture: bad communication in the company, lack of clarity of the organization’s goals and structure.
Work – private life: imbalance between work and private life.
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Manifestations Of Professional Stress
Stress can manifest itself in several ways. There are physiological, emotional, cognitive and behavioral responses to stressful work situations:
Physiological reactions, e.g. increased blood pressure, increased heart rate.
Emotional reactions, e.g. nervousness, irritation.
Cognitive reactions, e.g. a decrease in the level of concentration and perception, a greater tendency to forget.
Behavioral reactions, e.g. aggression, impulsiveness, making mistakes more often.
Effects of professional stress for the employee and the organization
The consequences of occupational stress concern both the employee himself and the functioning of the organization. The following effects of stress on an individual can be listed:
- problems with concentration and rest,
- difficulties in making decisions and problems with logical thinking,
- reduction of involvement in work,
- irritability, fatigue,
- problems with sleeping,
- health problems (e.g. heart disease, increased blood pressure, headaches).
For the organization itself, the effects of increased stress among employees may have far-reaching negative consequences. The most frequently mentioned effects of occupational stress for the organization are:
- increase in employee absenteeism,
- decrease in work involvement,
- increase in employee turnover,
- impairment of productivity and efficiency,
- increase in the level of dangerous practices in the organization and the number of accidents,
- increase in the number of complaints from customers,
- destroying the company’s image among employees and customers.