Understanding the Causes of Work Stress and How to Manage It

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What is work stress? How is it caused? We must have come across these questions quite a few times in our lives. Before getting into the details of work stress and understanding the factors that causes it, let’s consider the daily job routine of a common man. We know that a common man is trapped in an infinite loop of continuous struggle due to his never ending desires .His desperation to win a rat race and want to prove himself makes him similar to a machine with purpose but no life. He is burdened with the pressure of fulfilling the needs of his closed ones and works day and night to meet their expectations. His monotonous daily routine includes working for long hours, tight deadlines, insecurity of job, heavy workload etc. Most of the people are not satisfied with their jobs due to few factors including low salaries, lack of opportunities for growth and advancements, lack of social support, not having enough control over job related decisions and getting involved in work that isn’t engaging or challenging. This makes them uninterested and passionless about their work that results in lack of enthusiasm and work related pressure. Every person has experienced work stress in his life at some point. It is something that cannot be ignored. According to labor force survey, 526,000 workers suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17 and 12.5 million working days were lost due to work related pressure .It becomes difficult for a person to manage work-life balance and hence he becomes socially aloof.

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Any job can involve stressful elements even if it is the job of your choice or a job that you are passionate about. A person may have pleasure in completing his tasks within a specified time but when it is required for him to repeatedly do the same work for a long term, the pleasure of doing it converts into a pressure and that ultimately affects both his physical as well as mental health . Hence, it becomes vital for a person to deal with the stress. There are different ways of dealing with the stress, a person can overcome it, avoid it or can simply complain about it. In order to deal with work stress, it’s important to know the different stages of stress and in which stage a person is. The first stage of stress is when you recognize the occurrence of event irrespective of whether it is predictable or not. In the second stage, event is analyzed that what kind of stress it can cause or what measures can be taken to tackle it and this subsequently results in stress. In the third stage, nervous system is prepared for action after the event is perceived as a threat. In this stage, sympathetic nervous system (branch of autonomic nervous system) sends signals to our body in response to the threatening event. The fourth stage involves a physical reaction to the stress in which a person has two choices, he can either overcome the stress or can simply avoid it, this is commonly known as “fight-or-flight” response.

Since work stress can have negative impact on productivity of an organization as well as on physical and mental health of an employee, managing stress has become an issue of great concern. Helping employees in stress management and maintaining work-life balance can reduce problems such as lack of absenteeism, lack of job satisfaction, staff turnover etc which would result in increased efficiency and growth. There can be various techniques adopted by the companies, they can develop policies that promote and focus on the importance of mental health and work stress related activities, hence encouraging healthy practices about time constraints, workload, long working hours etc. Companies can conduct leisure activities, have friendly interactions, encourage breaks, reduce deadline related threats etc for a happy and positive work atmosphere. Reduction in the communication gap between managers and employees would play a major role in the creation of comfortable and stress free environment where both the parties would have better understanding and compatibility. Work stress management is of utmost importance as a happy and satisfied employee forms the Basis of a successful organization.

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