More and more employers are taking workplace stress relief a serious issue. While some employers make sure they provide their workers with a stress-free environment, there are still those who think it is not a priority. Studies show that a stressed office worker is less productive, less sharp, and more likely to get ill since stress affects the performance of the brain, which in turn diminishes one’s memory, concentration and learning capacity.
Statistics have revealed that workplace stress is pushing Americans to visit their doctors for prescription medication to ease their tension, nervousness and migraines. Aside from being a big factor in the deterioration of one’s mental and physical health, stress has also been pointed out as the reason for the increasing number of conflicts between employees and management. This has been proven true in most companies; and it may be the reason why a lot of employers nowadays are giving value to the ideal of a stress-free workplace. As a response, employers have paved the way for the conducting of managing work stress programs and other strategies to combat stress.
Stress at work is usually brought about by factors such as:
- Demands or burdens from the supervisor or employer
- Aggravation, irritation or harassment from a co-worker
- Work strain caused by a series of performance demands
- Lack of job security
- Long working hours
There are other stimulants of stress. Studies show that short-term stress is also brought about by chemicals within the brain as it reacts to stressors like noise, irritants, pollution, and other forms of agitation in the environment. These are often present in the workplace setting. For a while, the individual experiences short-term stress. When the stressor subsides, the body functions go back to normal and this phenomenon is called the relaxation response.
Every individual’s stress management coping skills and capacity will differ. While some have no difficulty in handling stress issues, some workers find it too tiresome to cope. While some people look at stressful conditions as a challenge that excites a person to do better, some take stress negatively. A person’s amount of experience in responding to stress would also determine the level of stress management she has. While some people release it by discussing the issue with other people, some individuals opt to keep it to themselves (as often occurs in a case when the stress is caused by sexual harassment) rather than expose it to people who they feel would not understand.
Companies are serious in addressing stress problems nowadays. The human resources (or relations) departments of companies regularly plan appropriate trainings or activities designed to reduce stress problems in the workplace. Such plans will include a determination of the possible stressors that affect most workers.
A workplace with stress-free staff is indeed a worthy ideal to work towards. And the main burden of bringing the workplace to such a condition lies with the employer.