Stress has become a common problem among the working people in this century because of the cut throat completion, job complexity, advanced technologies and many other reasons. People who are beginning their careers and trying to establish themselves in this age of high job complexity and competiveness are often subject to high level of work place stress. This can occur due to both professional and personal reasons. This research work gives information about work stress, various factors in the working environment that cause stressful situations and adverse health consequences. Impact of work place stress on workers performance has been recognised as an important area of concern that influences their performance on job. Since employees at a company play an important role in development of the company, its income and its image in the market it is important that employer recognises work place stress as an important factor in employees overall performance and adopts a wholesome, scientific and holistic approach towards reducing the effects of work place stress.
KEYWORDS: Work place stress, Factors affecting work place stress, Job complexity, cut throat competition
Stress is a workers reaction to a situation; it isn’t about the actual situation. Workers generally feel stressed when they feel that demand of the situation is greater than the resources that are available to deal with that situation. Stress is a transaction, a dynamic process that keeps on changing according to the role played by stress moderators with the changing external economic and financial environment in different societies. For example, a person who feels is comfortable speaking in public will not worry about giving a presentation; where as someone who is not confident about his speaking skills may feel a lot stressed due upcoming presentation. Work place stress can be defined as harmful physical and emotional responses that a person shows when there is a mix up between job demands on the employee and the degree of control that the employee has over meeting these demands. In general, a combination of high job demand and low amount of control over the situation can lead to stress. Workplace stress may have may have many origins and it can also come from one single event. It can have an impact on both employees and employers alike. Psychologists once believed that stress actually improved performance on a wide range of tasks. It is generally believed that a suitable amount of stress helps an employee stay focussed and motivated but when stress increases beyond a point it can cause unwanted physical and mental changes. It may lead to increased health problems leading to a higher rate of absenteeism and increased turnover, more accidents and poor job performance. Stress can be classified into two types:
1. Eustress: Positive, pleasant or curative stress
2. Distress: Dysfunctional or negative stress
However, in day to day life stress is considered to be negative only. For the cause of simplicity we will use only negative meaning of stress as that holds more value from our research point of view. Occupational stress is a significant and costly problem, and it is important for the organizations to manage work stress in order to reduce the cost of health care and also increase productivity.
There is no way to single out one reason that leads to stress at workplace. Every employee is a free and independent individual with his own professional and personal life, thus bringing different factors that may influence his reactions to conditions in the workplace. However there are factors in workplaces that can influence feelings of stress in work place. Some of them have been mentioned in the following table:
Categories of Job Stressors Example of sources of stress
Task Design 1. Workload(overload and under load)
2. Adequate time to complete task
3. Shift work/ Hours of Work
Role in the Organization 1. Role Conflict(conflicting job demands, too many roles, multiple supervisors/managers)
Career Development 1. Under/Over promotion
2. Job security
3. Lack of career development opportunities
Relationships at work(Interpersonal) 1. Supervisors(conflicts or lack of support)
2. Co-workers(conflicts or lack of support)
3. Threat of violence harassment etc.
Organizational structure/climate/management style 1. Participation (or non-participation) in decision-making
2. Communication patterns (poor communication / information flow)
Work-Life Balance 1. role/responsibility conflicts
2. family exposed to work related hazards
Following steps were followed in order to conduct this research work to bring it to na satisfactory conclusion:
1. A detailed and holistic literature survey was done of about 20 national and international journals that discussed work place stresses, there causes, ways to tackle the and measures that need to be implemented in order to reduce or negate their consequences and after effects.
2. A scientific process was chalked out to quantify the level of stresses in the employee working at the Business Process Outsourcing Organization. In order to achieve this a simple Yes/No – Job-Stress questionnaire was prepared to measure the level of physical and mental stress that the employee was facing at the work place.
3. This questionnaire contained 42 questions that and these questions can be divide into following three categories:
I. 12 questions were dedicated to measure the level of psychosocial stress in the employee.
II. A combination of 21 questions were designed to measure the level of physical wellbeing of the individual, as in, level of anxiety that has developed through the course of working the current job and the level of Muscle/Body pain that the employee faces due to long hours of continuous seating, starring at computer and typing.
4. The stress was quantified using the following process:
One point was awarded towards stress if an employee gave negative response to the question and Zero point was awarded when the employee’s response to a question was negative.