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Job Stress Assignment


Submitted By purnam
Words 4215
Pages 17
An Assignment on ‘Job Stress’
Course Name: Human Resource Management
Course Code: EM:514
Semester: Fall 2014

Submitted to: Prof. M.A. Akkas Department of Management Studies, University of Dhaka.

Submitted by: Anupam Hossain Purnam ID# 3-13-24-043 Batch: 24th

Date of Submission: 8 December, 2014

Job stress is stress involving work. According to the current World Health Organization's (WHO) definition, occupational or work-related stress "is the response people may have when presented with work demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope
The concept of job stress is often confused with challenge, but these concepts are not the same. Challenge energizes us psychologically and physically, and it motivates us to learn new skills and master our jobs. When a challenge is met, we feel relaxed and satisfied. Thus, challenge is an important ingredient for healthy and productive work. The importance of challenge in our work lives is probably what people are referring to when they say "a little bit of stress is good for you".


Job stress comes in different forms and affects your mind and body in different ways. Small things can make you feel stressed, such as a copy machine that never seems to work when you need it or phones that won't quit ringing. Major stress comes from having too much or not enough work or doing work that doesn't satisfy you. Conflicts with your boss, coworkers, or customers are other major causes of stress.
It's normal to have some stress. Stress releases hormones that speed up your heart, make you breathe faster, and give you a burst of energy. Stress can be useful when you need to focus on or finish a big project. But too much stress or being under stress for too long isn't good for you. Constant stress can make you more likely to get sick more often. It can make chronic pain worse and can also lead to long-term health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, back problems, and depression.

Stress in the workplace can be defined as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. Workplace stress can lead to poor health and even injury.

Causes of Job Stress:
Nearly everyone agrees that job stress results from the interaction of the worker and the conditions of work. Views differ, however, on the importance of worker characteristics versus working conditions as the primary cause of job stress. These differing viewpoints are important because they suggest different ways to prevent stress at work.
According to one school of thought, differences in individual characteristics such as personality and coping style are most important in predicting whether certain job conditions will result in stress - in other words, what is stressful for one person may not be a problem for someone else. This viewpoint leads to prevention strategies that focus on workers and ways to help them cope with demanding job conditions.

Although the importance of individual differences cannot be ignored, scientific evidence suggests that certain working conditions, such as excessive workload demands and conflicting expectations, are stressful to most people. Such evidence argues for a greater emphasis on working conditions as the key source of workplace stress, and for job redesign as a primary prevention strategy.

Job Conditions That May Lead to Stress: * The Design of Tasks: Heavy workload, infrequent rest breaks, long work hours and shiftwork; hectic and routine tasks that have little inherent meaning, do not utilize workers' skills, and provide little sense of control. * Management Style: Lack of participation by workers in decision-making, poor communication in the organization, lack of family-friendly policies. * Interpersonal Relationships: Poor social environment and lack of support or help from coworkers and supervisors. * Work Roles: Conflicting or uncertain job expectations, too much responsibility, too many "hats to wear". * Career Concerns: Job insecurity and lack of opportunity for growth, advancement, or promotion; rapid changes for which workers are unprepared. * Environmental Conditions: Unpleasant or dangerous physical conditions such as crowding, noise, air pollution, or ergonomic problems.

Most of the time, it's the major sources of stress that lead to job burnout and health problems. Job stress can affect your home life too. Here are some common sources of major job stress, with examples of each:

Lack of control: Feeling as if you have no control over your work or job duties is the biggest cause of job stress. People who feel like they have no control at work are most likely to get stress-related illnesses.
Increased responsibility: Taking on extra duties in your job is stressful. You can get more stressed if you have too much work to do and you can't say no to new tasks.
Job satisfaction and performance: Do you take pride in your job? If your job isn't meaningful, you may find it stressful. Are you worried about doing well at work? Feeling insecure about job performance is a major source of stress for many people.
Uncertainty about work roles: Being unsure about your duties, how your job might be changing, or the goals of your department or company can lead to stress. If you report to more than one boss, juggling the demands of different managers can also be stressful.
Poor communication: Tension on the job often comes from poor communication. Being unable to talk about your needs, concerns, and frustrations can create stress.
Lack of support: Lack of support from your boss or coworkers makes it harder to solve other problems at work that are causing stress for you.
Poor working conditions: Unpleasant or dangerous physical conditions, such as crowding, noise, or ergonomic problems, can cause stress..

Demerits of Job stress:
Stress sets off an alarm in the brain, which responds by preparing the body for defensive action. The nervous system is aroused and hormones are released to sharpen the senses, quicken the pulse, deepen respiration, and tense the muscles. This response (sometimes called the fight or flight response) is important because it helps us defend against threatening situations. The response is preprogrammed biologically. Everyone responds in much the same way, regardless of whether the stressful situation is at work or home.
Short-lived or infrequent episodes of stress pose little risk. But when stressful situations go unresolved, the body is kept in a constant state of activation, which increases the rate of wear and tear to biological systems. Ultimately, fatigue or damage results, and the ability of the body to repair and defend itself can become seriously compromised. As a result, the risk of injury or disease escalates.
In the past 20 years, many studies have looked at the relationship between job stress and a variety of ailments. Mood and sleep disturbances, upset stomach and headache, and disturbed relationships with family and friends are examples of stress-related problems that are quick to develop and are commonly seen in these studies. These early signs of job stress are usually easy to recognize. But the effects of job stress on chronic diseases are more difficult to see because chronic diseases take a long time to develop and can be influenced by many factors other than stress. Nonetheless, evidence is rapidly accumulating to suggest that stress plays an important role in several types of chronic health problems - especially cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, and psychological disorders.
Health care expenditures are nearly 50% greater for workers who report high levels of stress.
- Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Early Warning Signs of Job Stress

*Sleep disturbances
*Difficulty in concentrating
*Short temper
*Upset stomach
*Job dissatisfaction
*Low morale

Job Stress and Health: What the Research Tells Us

Cardiovascular Disease:
Many studies suggest that psychologically demanding jobs that allow employees little control over the work process increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Musculoskeletal Disorders:
On the basis of research by NIOSH and many other organizations, it is widely believed that job stress increases the risk for development of back and upper-extremity musculoskeletal disorders.

Psychological Disorders:
Several studies suggest that differences in rates of mental health problems (such as depression and burnout) for various occupations are due partly to differences in job stress levels. (Economic and lifestyle differences between occupations may also contribute to some of these problems.)

Workplace Injury:
Although more study is needed, there is a growing concern that stressful working conditions interfere with safe work practices and set the stage for injuries at work.
Suicide, Cancer, Ulcers, and Impaired Immune Function:
Some studies suggest a relationship between stressful working conditions and these health problems. However, more research is needed before firm conclusions can be drawn.
- Encyclopaedia of Occupational Safety and Health

Stress, Health, and Productivity:
Some employers assume that stressful working conditions are a necessary evil - that companies must turn up the pressure on workers and set aside health concerns to remain productive and profitable in today's economy. But research findings challenge this belief. Studies show that stressful working conditions are actually associated with increased absenteeism, tardiness, and intentions by workers to quit their jobs - all of which have a negative effect on the bottom line.

Recent studies of so-called healthy organizations suggest that policies benefiting worker health also benefit the bottom line. A healthy organization is defined as one that has low rates of illness, injury, and disability in its workforce and is also competitive in the marketplace. NIOSH research has identified organizational characteristics associated with both healthy, low-stress work and high levels of productivity.

Ways to adjust:

1. One thing at a time.
You’ll feel better and less stressed if you just do one thing at a time. No matter if it is at work, in school or in your private life. This will make it easier to focus and to do a job of higher quality right away. Instead of having to go back several times and polish and rearrange to get the result you want.
If you have to multi-task a few things during your day then set off some time for that. Single-task during most of your day but set off an hour in the afternoon for instance to do all of that multi-tasking stuff in one big swoop.

2. Write everything down.
If your memory is anything like mine then it might be a bit like a leaky bucket too often. So write everything down. Your ideas, tasks and stuff you just have to remember.
Then you don’t have to worry about forgetting. And you will free up your mind for focusing on other things than remembering.

3. Keep your daily to-do list very short.
10 years ago I never used a to-do list. I got very little done. Then I started using a too overloaded to-do list. I got more done but I was stressed and felt overwhelmed a lot of the time. Today I use a very short daily list of just the 1-3 most important tasks. It works really well.

4. Don’t make mountains out of molehills.
One of the best ways to make your day and life easier, lighter and less stressful is to not build mountains out of molehills. To not create extra drama, overthink or create a problem out of something that doesn’t matter much. Or just out of air.
So how can you handle this bad habit?
Well, when a big problem is starting to build in my mind I first say something like: Hold on now…
This helps me to pause and become more receptive to change my line of thinking. Then I ask myself:
Will this matter 5 years from now? Or even 5 weeks from now?
Those two steps have helped me to build a lot less mountains in my life.

5. Spend 80% of your time focusing on a solution.
And only 20% of your time on dwelling on your non-molehill issue or problem. Instead of taking a common path and doing it the other way around. You’ll live a much more action-filled life and feel less pessimistic and powerless if you do.

6. Ask instead of guessing.
Reading minds is very hard. Misunderstandings will be plentiful if you try to do it. So communicate instead. You’ll have a lot less unnecessary conflicts, negativity and waste less of your and other people’s time.

7. Pack your bag before you go to sleep.
A simple one but one that can save you a lot of stress in the morning. Take 5 minutes before you go to bed to do this and you’ll also be less likely to forget something important like your schoolbook, wallet or phone.

8. Balance fully focused work with complete rest.
I usually work for 45 minutes. Then I take a 15 minute break away from the computer. I eat a snack, take a short walk or maybe watch half an episode of one of my favorite TV-series. This helps me to relax and to avoid stress building up during the day.

9. Set clear boundaries for your day.
This is very important, at least for me.
I need to have a good balance between work and rest. So I don’t work before 8 in the morning or after 7 in the evening.
10. Disconnect over the weekend.
It is also really helpful to find a good balance between work and rest from a weekly perspective. I do that by staying away from work and staying offline – except for one email check – during the weekend. I highly recommend trying it out.
If you have a cellphone for work leave it at your job. Or at least put it in silent mode, check it once every 24 hours and only call back if it is something important. Otherwise, let it wait until Monday.
These strict limits between hourly, daily and weekly work is a huge help for me to avoid the grey zone.
When you are in the grey zone then you are basically thinking and worrying about work when you are at home or you having a day off. Or you think about your private life and challenges there while you are at work.
Avoid the grey zone. It sucks the life out of you and can leave you so stressed that it becomes hard to focus or even to get a good night’s sleep.

11. Make sure you take time to do what you love to do.
Learn to get the necessary done quicker and don’t get lost in “have-tos”. Prioritize what really matters to you and carve out time during your weekend or evenings to do what you love doing.
Maybe it is playing soccer with your kids, painting, writing, taking photos or reading. Whatever you love to do, make sure you set off some time for it regularly in your schedule. Because few things will relieve stress and energize you like an activity you love doing.

12. Delegate.
You don’t have to do everything yourself. You don’t have to control or micromanage. If possible delegate and let someone else get that task or project to done.

13. Eliminate.
Do you even have to do everything that is on your schedule? What things could you stop doing altogether with no or very small consequences?
What things are your heart maybe not in like it used to be?
Could you say no to one or a few of those things to have more time and energy for what matters in both your professional and private life?
Reevaluate what you usually do in a day or week and see if there is something you would like to stop doing.

14. Be 10 minutes early.
This one has transformed my traveling from stressful situations to relaxing pieces of time in my day.

15. Stay on track by asking yourself questions every day.
One good way to find clarity, to not get behind on work and to actually do what matters each day is to ask yourself questions regularly.
Questions like: What is the most important thing I can do right now?
And: Is doing this bringing me closer to my goal?
If you like, write one of the questions down on a post-it note and put it where you will see it every day. It is very easy to forget to ask yourself the question otherwise.

16. Let your lunch be a slow time of relaxing.
Don’t wolf down your lunch in 7 minutes flat. That will only ramp up the stress that you bring with you from the first few hours of work.
Instead, let your lunch be a time of relaxation. Eat slowly and focus on the smell, texture and taste of the food. Put down the fork and knife down between bites to make that easier.
I have found this to be a wonderful way to relax midday. And to get the best experience out ofwhat you are eating.

17. Keep a very simple workspace.
Mine is for example a simple and small black desk with my laptop on it. A few flowers. And a glass of water. This simplicity makes it easier for me to focus on what truly matters in a relaxed and undistracted way.

18. Build a zone of few distractions for your work hours.
A simple workspace makes it easier to focus. I also find it helpful to keep instant messaging programs offline and to keep my smart phone in another room and in silent mode. And to use my browser only when I need to.
By doing so I am less distracted, it is easier to think clearly and I feel less stressed.

19. Get to done with something that stressed or bothers you.
An unfinished task that is tumbling around in the back of your mind can cause quite a bit of stress and negativity within. So if you know you have one of those then ask yourself:
What is one small I can do today to start getting this task to done?
Then take that first step and put yourself in motion towards finishing.

20. If it does not get done then there is a day tomorrow too.
Sometimes life interferes or you have a bad day. And you don’t get done what you had planned or hoped for.
The best way – in my experience – to handle this is to simply and kindly tell yourself that there will be a day tomorrow too and you can do it then.
Beating yourself up or getting angry will only add stress that will suck the energy, self-confidence and motivation out of you. And life is too short for that.

21. Everything in its place.
When things have their own home where you always put them back then they will be a lot easier to find and your workspace and home will be in better order. This will greatly reduce the number of stressful times when you can’t find an important report or your car keys as you are heading out the door.

22. Check your email etc. just once and as late in the workday as possible.
I usually check and process my email, social media accounts and various statistics for my website during the last hour of my workday. By doing so I save the stress that it can cause me and the new tasks it can produce until I have already put in several of my most energetic hours on doing my most important tasks.
23. Limit your daily information intake.
Take a few minutes each month to unsubscribe to newsletters, blogs, podcasts etc. that you don’t get much out of anymore or you rarely even listen to or read.
This makes it easier to focus on what truly matters for you, to spend more of your time on taking action and to not get stuck in information overload and analysis paralysis.

24. Listen to yourself.
When you are starting to feel drained, more irritable and creativity plummets then don’t just keep on going right into the brick wall. Listen to yourself and your body. Schedule more time to take care of yourself.
Just spend the evening in bed watching your favorite movies. Or go out for a walk or run in the woods. No one will reward you for running into that wall or even becoming burned out. Be kind to yourself and prioritize your health.

25. Be here.
When you spend too much time in your head reliving the past or imagining the future then it is easy to become worried. Fearful. Stressed out. Choose to spend more of your day and time in the present moment.

One simple way to reconnect with the now if you get lost in the past or future is to just focus fully outward for a minute or two. Sit or stand still and take in everything that is happening around you at this moment. See it. Hear it. Smell it. Feel the sun, the rain or your soft sweater on your skin.

26. Stop trying to do things perfectly.
Go for good enough instead and when you are there then you are done. And can move on to the next task or project. Set this more human bar to measure success by not only to finish things but also raise and then keep your self-esteem at a healthy level.
Because when you measure yourself to a perfect standard then it will pretty much impossible to keep your self-esteem up and feel good about yourself more than once in a while.

27. Ask for help.
You don’t always have to go it alone. You can ask your friend, parents or partner or even someone you do not know that well for a helping hand. You might not always get it but you may be surprised at how helpful and kind people can be if you just ask.
And then later on when they ask then you can return the kindness.

28. Talk it out with someone.
This can be a great relief and vent to have when you are in a stressed situation. Let your stress and the issue that it comes from out into the light and let someone close to you see it too.

Just letting it out can often help you to decrease the stress quite a bit and when you say it out loud then it also becomes easier to see if you are making a mountain out of a molehill.
The other person can also help you to ground yourself when needed and together the two of you may be able to figure out what to do about the situation. Or at least how to get started with improving it.
29. Zoom out.
One thing that helps me as I sometimes fall into victim thinking when I am stressed is to zoom out on my narrow perspective by asking myself this question:
Is there anyone on the planet having it worse than me right now?

30. Slow down.
If you slow down your body then in my experience your thoughts will once again become clearer and slower too. So sometimes when I am stressed and am trying to do everything quickly then I force myself to slow down. I move slower. I eat slower. I talk and walk slower.
It may be uncomfortable for the first minute or so but after a very short while my mind stops racing and the stress starts to melt away and is replaced with a bit more inner calmness.

31. Tell yourself: Just take care of today.
Focus only on that. Forget about all those tomorrows. And about all your yesterdays. Go small, narrow your focus greatly and just take care of today. Then you can take care of tomorrow when it comes.
This one is very helpful when you feel overwhelmed.

32. Just breathe.
Release the stress, calm your mind and body down and reconnect with the present moment again by fully focusing on your breathing. Breathe with your belly for just 1-2 minutes and focus only on the air you are breathing in and out.

33. Be smart about the three fundamentals of energy.
What are these three fundamentals? Getting enough sleep, eating healthy and exercising a couple of times a week.
I know, these things are very obvious. But when you manage these three areas in a good way in practice then that makes a huge difference for your mood, energy, outlook of life and how well you can handle stress.

Low morale, health and job complaints, and employee turnover often provide the first signs of job stress. But sometimes there are no clues, especially if employees are fearful of losing their jobs. Lack of obvious or widespread signs is not a good reason to dismiss concerns about job stress or minimize the importance of a prevention program.
As a general rule, actions to reduce job stress should give top priority to organizational change to improve working conditions. But even the most conscientious efforts to improve working conditions are unlikely to eliminate stress completely for all workers. For this reason, a combination of organizational change and stress management is often the most useful approach for preventing stress at work.

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