There are many factors that can exacerbate the causes of stress in the workplace. The challenges faced by people in the workplace make the job more exciting and interesting. However, there are challenges that can also have negative effects. The normal reaction to stress is tension, anxiety and excitement and work-life goes back to normal after a while. If however, the stress becomes overwhelming or if it happens too often, there can be a problem getting back to the normal state and one is no longer able to relax. The most common causes of stress in the workplace are the following:
- Demands at work become too extreme or excessive
- There is disproportion between the workload and the abilities of the employees
- Fear for security of employment as a result of massive layoffs
- Ineffective management which makes employees feel they are in a dead end
- Dealing with reorganizations in the workplace
- Dealing with workplace bullies
- Dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace
- Information overload which causes mental stress
- A poor physical working environment
- Employees who fear they will be declared as redundant
Demands can be seen as a result of technological advances that make work more efficient but in the end, eventually require employees to perform more tasks. This is the contemporary cause of workplace stress. Expansion of technology demands that workers constantly perform near their peak, be competitive and constantly updated on technological breakthroughs. There are also pressures that mount, making it harder for employers to handle them. This results in the lack of satisfaction, exhaustion and frustration on the part of the worker. Too much stress coupled with the inability to relax triggers emotional and physical reactions that are a threat to the health. The end result is that stress will jeopardize a person’s ability to do work.
Workplace stress should be a concern for both workers and employers since chronic stress can lead to serious illnesses like asthma, peptic ulcers, depression and irritable bowel syndrome. Stress can lead to a rise in absenteeism and a corresponding decrease in the productivity of workers and the enterprise.
Here are some common causes of stress in the workplace:
- When a company fails to inform employees about changes in their business, this can cause tension and uncertainty. Fear develops when employees are kept in the dark. The constant fear of losing a job can be very stressful which is why a healthy employee and employer relationship is very important in any workplace setting.
- Constant mental stress caused by information overload affects the body in a negative way. Workers may either lose weight excessively or gain weight excessively. An unhealthy lifestyle and a poor social relationship is almost always a result of stress in the workplace. An unhealthy personal and social life can in turn create more stress for the employee since he or she is distracted by problems outside of the workplace. This shows that work and social or personal life compliments each other. Stress relief can only be achieved once there is a balance between the two.
- A new workplace environment can also be another cause of stress in the workplace. Having to deal with a different work culture can create stress temporarily. But if a worker fails to adjust properly conflicts may arise between colleagues or even with officers. Dealing with difficult people in the workplace induces workplace politics or gossips which generates even more stress in the workplace. This is where a network of support can be particularly helpful.
- Work bullies or co-workers who make life miserable for you can also be a cause of workplace stress.
- Job stress for women can also be caused by sexual harassment from colleagues or superiors. The constant worry and isolation gives so much tension to a female employee leading to a hostile work environment. This is a situation in which one is forced to deal with an intimidating and offensive workplace everyday. This affects the ability to perform and to grow and be given credit in one’s chosen career. Success and advancement becomes hard, making the female worker frustrated and unsatisfied.
One of the worst causes of stress in almost all workplace is a hostile working environment that can come as a result of workplace bullying, sexual harassment or discrimination. These problems can only be solved if a worker is well aware of her rights and if the company or the organization has provided a proper forum that will address and solve such problems.