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Workplace Stress - What Causes It and How to Prevent It

30 June 2022

Working a 9-5 job has gotten increasingly challenging over the past years, making workplaces one of the most stressful places in a person's life. With the never-ending demands and responsibilities at work, most employees complain about feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope with the workload. Due to this, their stress level is off the charts and remains such as constantly. That is a ubiquitous scenario in most parts of the world, but it is particularly prevalent in America.

Studies show that one-fourth of the employees in the corporate sector deem their job as the biggest stressor in their lives. Moreover, three-fourths workforce population believes that it suffers from a much higher level of stress than the previous generation. All that is to say, workplace stress is a rampant problem in present times, which is why there has been a lot of discussion on the topic. Yet, not much has been done to control the growing crisis. As a result, workers continue to undergo excessive stress at work on a daily basis. Considering the unmatched prevalence of workplace stress, addressing its causes and coming up with remedies is essential. With that in mind, here is a detailed guide on it.

Workplace Stress

Workplace Stress

Workplace or job stress occurs when someone’s job demands and duties go beyond their capacity and capability. That can happen either in terms of crippling workload or inhuman working hours.

Simply put, when a person has to push themselves past their maximum performance capacity in order to do their job, they face workplace stress. Not having comfortable facilities and furniture, such as Kana Pro Bamboo Standing Desk, can make matters worse and exacerbate the problem.

Job stress can manifest as physical and mental responses. You may feel anxious and depressed thinking about work or you may feel bone-tired all the time because of the effort you have to put in at work.

Many people often assume that workplace stress is only linked with psychological distress, but that’s not true. It can lead to physical repercussions along with mental ramifications. Sometimes a person may suffer from effects on both their physiological and psychological wellbeing.

Since professional life is considered fundamentally stressful, sometimes a person may not be able to determine if their emotions are normal or a symptom of some deep-rooted condition. The best way to figure out if you have a workplace is by analyzing if you are able to manage your job responsibilities without overburdening yourself regularly. Working overtime once in a while is understandable when working in the corporate arena. However, when it becomes a frequent occurrence, know that something is not right.

In simple terms, if you can complete work-related tasks easily without bailing on other commitments of your life, such as attending family get-togethers or spending time with kids, you don't have workplace stress.

However, if that’s not the case and you have to take a rain check on meeting with friends and family often, you are most likely wearing yourself out beyond your capabilities. In that situation, you must take necessary measures to get out of the unending grind you are in on the job.

What Causes Workplace Stress

What Causes Workplace Stress

There are many factors responsible for making someone unceasingly stressed at work, but these are the most common ones.

Unmanageable Workload

Do you have to work on multiple projects at once? Or do you have to frequently sit late at the office wrapping up proposals and examining records? Or are you expected to overlook various operations simultaneously? To put it simply, do you feel that you are struggling to keep up with your responsibilities at work? If so, you are well on your way to developing workplace stress if you haven't already.

The excessive workload at the office is one of the leading causes of workplace stress across the globe.

Unhelpful Management Style

Many corporations can be quite unreasonable when it comes to managing teams. That is, employees often complain that their higher-ups are inconsiderate and can get rather irrational at times, demanding workers to go beyond their capacity to meet deadlines.

On top of that, employees are often not part of decision-making and are expected to ignore their family needs if duty calls. Due to this brutal management style, workers become stressed as they struggle to cope with the unreasonable demands of their bosses.

Lack of Job Security

Perhaps the second most common factor responsible for workplace stress is the lack or complete absence of job security. It's an established fact that the job market is in the dumps, unemployment is soaring, and layoffs have become a norm. Because of this, those who have a job fear that if they get fired, they will have a hard time looking for another opportunity, which is also why they put up with unfair treatment at work.

Naturally, when you feel that you can be kicked out of your firm anytime, you cannot be at ease, especially if you are your family’s breadwinner.

Toxic Work Environment

Another widely prevalent cause of workplace stress is a toxic work environment. Bullying, double-crossing and similar other unfair treatments have become exceedingly common in organizations, forcing desperate workers to bear it all. That is, people who need the income to run their homes often continue to be a victim of mistreatment at the hands of their superiors.

Unsafe Working Conditions

Unsafe working conditions are more common in industrial setups, where workers have to operate machines and run electrical plants. That said, some offices may also have unhealthy surroundings for employees. Such places have inadequate cleanliness, overcrowding, and a lack of comfortable furnishings for workers, among other factors. Such a dangerous working environment can make people concerned about their wellbeing, thus adding to their stress.

Unclear Work Roles

While rare, unclear work roles are not unheard of in the business sector. Often, workers are expected to perform multiple duties that may not even fall under their job description, at least on paper.

In other words, coming across employees who are asked to take care of several things is not completely out of the question. This unreasonable expectation can be greatly stressful for anyone.

Differing Views on the Causes of Workplace Stress

Differing Views on the Causes of Workplace Stress

Unlike most medical conditions, which have definite causes, workplace stress seemingly doesn't, as different schools of thought have differing takes on the topic. That is, some believe that stress or the scale for measuring pressure is subjective. So, what might be stressful for one person may not be the same for another. Due to this, an individual's characteristics and ability to navigate challenging situations determine if they will have workplace stress. This means that no office or industry can be deemed stress-inducing objectively.

However, it must be noted that regardless of one's personal capacity to take the pressure, certain situations are stressful across the board. For example, if there is a lack of job security or unfair treatment from company administration, anyone will feel anxious. The only difference will be in how a person deals with the distressful scenario.

With all that said, whether it’s individual traits or external factors, workplace stress continues to exist in the corporate sector, resulting in various health problems in employees.

Effects of Workplace Stress

Effects of Workplace Stress

Besides mental anguish and physical exhaustion, workplace stress can result in the following.

Poor productivity at work. When employees are constantly under stress, they will not perform their best, which will eventually affect the company’s progress.
Health problems in employees, such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, ulcers, and impaired immunity.
Suicidal thoughts
Workplace injury. A distressed mind is a distracted mind, which can easily cause you to injure yourself.

How to Prevent Workplace Stress

How to Prevent Workplace Stress

On a personal level, counseling, physical training, and frequent getaways can help you avoid getting stressed. On an organizational level, companies can conduct stress management seminars and have in-house experts to help employees tackle difficult situations at the office. Let's go over all the possible countermeasures to prevent workplace stress in detail.

Counseling or Therapy

Mandatory therapy sessions should become a part of office culture to encourage employees to seek professional assistance in dealing with work-related stress.

To do that, companies can either have counselors within office premises or appoint a mental health professional as the firm's official counselor who may work at their own clinic, but workers can go there easily.

Stress Management Programs

Besides regular therapy, offices should introduce stress management programs that organize workshops to equip workers for tackling stressful conditions. They should also identify common stressors at a workplace so that those can be addressed at the organizational level.

Better Communication between Employees and Administration

Open dialogue between employees and administration is imperative in preventing workplace stress. The higher-ups need to be well aware of the well-being of their subordinates. Doing so will allow them to adjust job duties and distribute work evenly among teams.

Clearly Define Job Roles

Corporations should map out the responsibilities of each employee and ensure that nobody is asked to do tasks outside their role's jurisdiction. Moreover, job roles must be defined based on every individual's capacity.

Lastly, there should be a limit to the daily or weekly working hours for employees that should be respected under all circumstances.

Ending Note

While workplace stress may seem omnipresent, it can be tackled and reduced with correct precautions and countermeasures. If companies vouch to help their workers maintain work-life balance, things can get better with regard to job-related stress.