Organizational Stress

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STRESS AT WORK

 Introduction
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Methods of Coping & Cure
|
Information
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Related Links
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Self Help

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Symptoms
Causes
Coping Skills
Burnout

Stress at work is a relatively new phenomenon of modern lifestyles. The nature of work has gone through drastic changes over the last century and it is still changing at whirlwind speed. They have touched almost all professions, starting from an artist to a surgeon, or a commercial pilot to a sales executive. With change comes stress, inevitably. Professional stress or job stress poses a threat to physical health. Work related stress in the life of organized workers, consequently, affects the health of organizations.

What's It?
Job stress is a chronic disease caused by conditions in the workplace that negatively affect an individual's performance and/or overall well-being of his body and mind. One or more of a host of physical and mental illnesses manifests job stress. In some cases, job stress can be disabling. In chronic cases a psychiatric consultation is usually required to validate the reason and degree of work related stress.

Working on a project on stress at work, Andy Ellis, Ruskin College, Oxford, UK, has shown in a chart how stress can adversely affect an employee's performance. In the early stages job stress can 'rev up' the body and enhance performance in the workplace, thus the term 'I perform better under pressure'. However, if this condition is allowed to go unchecked and the body is revved up further, the performance ultimately declines and the person's health degenerates.

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The signs of job stress vary from person to person, depending on the particular situation, how long the individual has been subjected to the stressors, and the intensity of the stress itself. Typical symptoms of job stress can be: • Insomnia

• Loss of mental concentration,
• Anxiety, stress
• Absenteeism
• Depression,
• Substance abuse,
• Extreme anger and frustration,
• Family conflict
• Physical illnesses such as heart disease, migraine, headaches, stomach problems, and back problems.

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Job stress may be caused by a complex set of reasons. Some of the most visible causes of workplace stress are:

Job Insecurity
Organized workplaces are going through metamorphic changes under intense economic transformations and consequent pressures. Reorganizations, takeovers, mergers, downsizing and other changes have become major stressors for employees, as companies try to live up to the competition to survive. These reformations have put demand on everyone, from a CEO to a mere executive.

High Demand for Performance
Unrealistic expectations, especially in the time of corporate reorganizations, which, sometimes, puts unhealthy and unreasonable pressures on the employee, can be a tremendous source of stress and suffering. Increased workload, extremely long work hours and intense pressure to perform at peak levels all the time for the same pay, can actually leave an employees physically and emotionally drained. Excessive travel and too much time away from family also contribute to an employee's stressors.

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Technology
The expansion of technology—computers, pagers, cell phones, fax machines and the Internet—has resulted in heightened expectations for productivity, speed and efficiency, increasing pressure on the individual worker to constantly operate at peak performance levels. Workers working with heavy machinery are under constant stress to remain alert. In this case both the worker and their family members live under constant mental stress. There is also the constant pressure to keep up with technological breakthroughs and improvisations, forcing employees to learn new software all the times.

Workplace Culture
Adjusting to the workplace culture, whether in a new company or not, can be intensely stressful. Making oneself adapt to the various aspects of workplace culture such as communication patterns, hierarchy, dress code if...
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