Stress in the workplace. It shows up in various forms, but we all encounter it at some point. Maybe it is long hours, tight deadlines, increasing demands or coworkers who don’t know how to use their “indoor voice.” Regardless of what causes your stress in the workplace, it’s pretty much unavoidable. The first step in dealing with workplace stress is figuring out what is causing your stress. The following conditions have been listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which may cause stress at the workplace.
- The Design of Tasks: Heavy workload, infrequent rest breaks, long work hours and shiftwork; hectic and routine tasks that have little inherent meaning, do not utilize workers’ skills and provide little sense of control.
- Example: David works to the point of exhaustion. Theresa is tied to the computer, allowing little room for flexibility, self-initiative or rest.
- Management Style: Lack of participation by workers in decision-making, poor communication in the organization, lack of family-friendly policies.
- Example: Theresa needs to get the boss’s approval for everything, and the company is insensitive to her family needs.
- Interpersonal Relationships: Poor social environment and lack of support or help from coworkers and supervisors.
- Example: Theresa’s physical isolation reduces her opportunities to interact with other workers or receive help from them.
- Work Roles: Conflicting or uncertain job expectations, too much responsibility and too many “hats to wear.”
- Example: Theresa is often caught in a difficult situation trying to satisfy both the customer’s needs and the company’s expectations.
- Career Concerns: Job insecurity and lack of opportunity for growth, advancement or promotion; rapid changes for which workers are unprepared.
- Example: Since the reorganization at David’s plant, everyone is worried about their future with the company and what will happen next.
- Environmental Conditions: Unpleasant or dangerous physical conditions such as crowding, noise, air pollution or ergonomic problems.
- Example: David is exposed to constant noise at work.
I don’t mean to cause any more stress in your life, but now that you have been able to pinpoint the potential cause of your stress, you’ll have to wait until my next blog to see what employers can do to reduce stress as well as tips to overcome/cope with stress in the workplace.