Stress is the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demands placed on them. There is a clear distinction between pressure, which can create a motivating work environment, and stress, which can occur when the pressure becomes excessive. Work-related stress is a major cause of occupational ill health, poor productivity and human error. It can result in sickness absence, high staff turnover and poor performance and could increase the potential of a rise in accidents. The impacts on an organisation from stress are:
* staff performance and productivity
* accidents caused by human error
* staff turnover and intention to leave
* attendance levels
* staff recruitment and retention
* customer satisfaction
* organisational image and reputation
* Potential litigation.
The effect work-related stress has on your unit or team when losing one colleague for an extended period with a stress-related illness can have a dramatic impact on the workload and morale of the rest of the team, so it does not just affect an individual but impacts on the whole team. Within my workplace a time that I felt under stress was when the directors and the senior operations team (in which my role as development chef falls), were working firstly on a deadline to submit a tender for a potential new contract and then working on, and delivering the presentation that followed our tender document being shortlisted. The reason that I felt added pressure and stress was that not only were the demands of the high workload to be completed within short deadlines, this was the first tender process that I was involved with and so put added pressure on myself to impress. The time that I felt the highest levels of stress was when we had been shortlisted to the presentation stage. This required me to produce and execute an innovative menu to be delivered on the day. This was communicated to myself on a Wednesday morning and needed to be organised ready to be firstly presented to my directors on the Friday morning. Not only did the menu need to be written but ingredients and equipment sourced and delivered. The short time frame added to the stress that I was feeling and although was only short term I was experiencing some of the symptoms associated with stress and had changes in my normal behaviour.
* Loss of appetite
* Change in sleeping pattern
* Tense anxiety feeling
* Uptight and mood swings
There is now convincing evidence that prolonged periods of stress, including work-related stress, have an adverse effect on health.
* physical effects such as heart disease, back pain, headaches, gastrointestinal * disturbances or various minor illnesses
* psychological effects such as anxiety and depression,
* Loss of concentration and poor decision making.
The table below shows the effects of stress on the individual over short and long term periods.
| Short term
| Long term
| Anxious, mood swings, negative thoughts
| Anxiety, depression
| Heart and lungs
| Raised heart rate, increased blood pressure
| Hypertension and heart disease
| Sweating, reddening
| Loss of appetite, butterflies in stomach, nausea
| Weight loss, bowel problems such as IBS
Stress can also lead to other behaviours that can have an adverse effect on psychological and physical health and well-being, for example, social withdrawal, aggressive behaviour, alcohol/drug abuse, eating disorders and working long hours. A management technique that could be used to overcome this stress would by prioritising and organising. Being effective at prioritising and organising will have a positive effect on colleagues. Stress in the workplace can be reduced by task management:
* Prioritising work- make a list of work to be completed with the most important task at the top. * Break down projects- large projects can seem...
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