Workplace Stress and How it Affects Employees

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Getting a job is generally perceived as fulfilling and has been known to have positive impacts on a person’s mental and physical health. However, most people go through so many work challenges daily that the positive impacts of getting a job appears minimal when compared to the dangers and risks encountered.

The World Health Organization defines work-related stress as “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.”

Employee performance is vital for the growth of any company, and may be threatened by the high levels of stress employees have to go through every day at their workplace. Many workers complain of undergoing work-related stress and report that it has negative effects on their health, finances and performance.

According to Gallup’s recent ‘State of the Global Workplace report’, 44% of employees experienced workplace stress a lot of the previous day. 

Workplace stress can arise due to ineffective management, poor organization, unwholesome working conditions and employee rivalry. Infact, a survey made by Northwestern National Life Insurance Company revealed that one-fourth of employees report that their jobs were the leading source of stress in their lives. 

Over the past two decades, several studies have been made about the various implications of stress at the workplace. Workplace stress has been identified as one of the leading causes of several heath-challenges. The most common ailments arising due to work-related stress includes mood disturbance, insomnia, headaches, stomach pain, depression and more.

What’s worse is that more than 52% of employees are feeling burned out due to work stress, as evident in a study made by Indeed. Burnout is an extreme syndrome which arises as a result of unmanaged workplace stress. The World Health Organization says that burnout is characterized by “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.”

Workplace stress will make workers find it difficult to focus on tasks, and cause unnecessary anxiety among them. If left unmonitored, it leads to burnout where workers simply cease to care and do not have the capacity to carry out their work.

A 2019 State of Employee Communication and Engagement research carried out by Dynamic Signal, stated that ‘63% of US workers are ready to quit their jobs due to stress.’

Workplace Stress happens due to physical or psychological factors. The physical factors that lead to stress include bad working postures, noise, poor office arrangement and the likes.

The psychological factors are the most common triggers, and they include strict working hours, job insecurity, and workplace harassment.

A survey by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) revealed that 56% of workers report that the stress and anxiety they face affects their work performance.

Apart from productivity, workplace stress hugely affects the behavior and health of employees. Stress leads to panicking which makes them prone to high blood pressure and anxiety. 

Workplace stress also paves the way for cardiovascular diseases like obesity, cardiac arrest and stroke. The mental health of the workers are also at risk, as they engage in substance abuse, poor eating habits and other unhealthy lifestyles.

Workplace stress is a commonly overlooked silent killer which has a huge effect on the health and output of employees. In order to reduce the risk of burnouts and achieve work efficiency, employers should incorporate wellness programs and create a happier and healthier environment for their workers.

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