Work Related Stress
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There has been a growing concern of practitioners over work related stress and how it impacts employee and ultimately organisational performance. This problem has attracted attention of the media whereby several news paper articles indicate the growing amount of stress harbored by employees that is increasingly affecting their performance at work and how it needs to be addressed by companies.
A constant fear of job security has become common amongst employed individuals in the modern business environment where managers make no attempt to boost the morale of the employees. It s the survival of the fittest and in this race employees tend to lose a lot even if they are not made redundant. And this is also a loss for the organisation in terms of efficiency. According to an article published by Guardian (2011a), fear of job security on account of the massive organisational trend of redundancy being practiced by managers of several companies, employees enter into a prolonged phase of stress wherein choose to come to the office even when they have any severe sickness or illness. Working in such conditions, they ultimately prolong their illness and this affects their ability to perform better. In their own world, they are avoiding being made redundant but they are actually producing a poor performance record because of not being able to perform their best in the condition of massive illness. When the illness gets out of control, they become forced to take long breaks to either get admitted to the hospitals in the end. This again affects the organisational performance. The ultimate affect that this trend has brought onto the organisational performance is that on average the number of days taken off particularly as a sick leave has risen rather drastically. According to the article, there have been reports to signify the need to improve the stress conditions in the organisations so as to prevent the employees from entering in to a phase of ‘mental’ sickness which is even a much more adverse condition that will produce a very negative impact upon the employee’s ability to perform at all at work! As much as the article convinces one of the disastrous impacts of the fear of job security and how it has increased the number and magnitude of sick leaves on average per employee per year, it fails to provide with sufficiency regarding what could be done to improve the situation or prevent any further damage from happening. It simply reports the current situation. It gives the reader the idea that the situation is like a disease or a natural phenomenon that is bound to happen and cannot be prevented and that the organization is only institution to blame for this social trend.
An article published by the same newspaper on another occasion (Guardian, 2011b), however, provides a handful of remedies that can be applied by the employee as an individual to avoid being stressed at work and preventing them from entering into a prolonged phase of sickness that ultimately affects their performance at work negatively, as reported by the previous article. This article, sets with what the previous article left off: the remedies that can be applied to prevent employee stress from reaching burn out levels. It provides a list of ten easy activities that can be carried out on any working or off day to manage a stress free and easy going lifestyle. It talks about efficient management of time, taking care of health and fitness, managing the capacity of working before taking work load, figuring out the causes of the stress and avoiding it as much as possible by thinking of cures, avoiding of indulging in conflicts and disagreements at work, acceptance of change and learning to adapt with it, keeping some time during the day reserved for relaxation, unwinding and cheerful activities, trying to change how things are done to increase motivation and reduce stress and avoidance of relying on alcohol and caffeine to cope with stress. The article provides a series of highly relevant and practical pointers to deal with and prevent stress on an individual level but the fear of job security beats everything when it comes down on the shoulder of the employee. Reducing this cause of stress is only the job of the management and the organization itself that can attempt to boost employee morale. The article fails to acknowledge that.
In this regard, the article published on 11th November 2011 by Guardian (2011c), states that organisations need to have stress management policies set up just as health and safety regulations to avoid employees’ illness and stress from affecting the organisation by eliminating the root causes of sickness by taking preventive actions just like for fire and safety hazards in the organisation. the stress therein was placed upon the mental health of the employees that needs to be addressed as an immediate response towards the industry wide increasing levels of burn out amongst employees as the outcome of the redundancies.
As the economic tension continues to grow in the business environment, the work place environment has become nothing short of a source of immense stress showered onto employees to meet the deadlines and challenging targets set by the managers. In order to reduce stress at work, not only the employees need to improve their mental health at an individual level but the employers also need to find ways to boost the morale of the employees and take preemptive actions to avoid the stress hazards from affecting the organisational performance.
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