In our everyday lives we are faced with situations that do require us to work extremely hard. Whereas this is a very vital thing in every success of an organization, employees suffer severe health problems. This is because pressure emanating from this tight and demanding work conditions has with it several negative aspects. Amidst believes that pressure is necessary for an organization to achieve its mission it has greatly affected many lives. All organizations should educate themselves to be able to cope with this inevitable challenge and instead use it to make the health of workers less vulnerable. Also, an understanding as to the causes of work-related stress should also be studied.
Today, most workers are faced with great challenges due to their work demands. Majority of organizations and companies invest a lot on labor. In this regard, workers play a vital role in the economic prosperity of the company they work. The profits realized are deemed to be equivalent to the amount of efforts put in by the workers. Employers, in most cases lay blame on the employees if in case their business does not perform effectively. In such circumstances employees suffer entrenchment or sucking, strict work conditions, lots of pressure among other worse conditions. This study seeks to demonstrate some of the health hazards posed to workers due to increased pressure at work.
Stress at Work Place
It is true that we all need some amount of pressure in all that we do to be able to appreciate our work and even derive satisfaction from it. This is also a valid reason why one will rush to meet deadlines. If our work environment is devoid of deadlines, workers involved would not have much to do and may even find themselves bored. This is a waste as far as their career is concerned since results and profits depend on how much we are able to deliver within certain time lines. Again, life today is full of struggles and up and downs, frustrations and endless demands. For almost everybody, stress is the order of the day and an inevitable aspect in our lives. As it has been widely believed that stress is harmful, some are of the opinion that it is not always bad. It acts as a catalyst for people to perform more productively, a means to cope with pressuring situations and pulls out the best from them. It becomes worse if the subjects are not able to control it or if the demands outweigh their capacity to handle situations. It is at this point that one’s mind and body pay the price. This becomes the beginning of many other health problems. Everyday, economic activities are changing and almost all employers are struggling to have in place products that can meet consumers’ needs. Due to this, a lot is demanded from the workers so that they can participate fully to meet the challenges and demands of the time. As demand for certain products change with time so do the expertise of the workers change, for example, a company dealing with phones may discover that mobile phones without internet services are no longer in demand. The company will put in double efforts to ensure that they have enough stock ready for the market. This increased changes occasion stress. Work-related stress poses a great danger to health both physically and socially and psychologically. This is because a worker’s efforts involve energy and muscle, emotions and thinking. For example, if an individual strains in manual work like carrying a heavy load he or she may experiences body pains, the same case applies to that individual who spends a lot of time doing mental management leading to psychological imbalances. Therefore, it cannot be assumed that stress at work place only affects the health of the workers physically but also the effects extend to their soul. Stress at work place is indisputable and it has even been argued that stress is useful. It is seen as a way to motivate workers and drive them to been more productive. As mentioned earlier, most organizations are faced with changes in time and environment; hence pressure at work place instills fire in the workers to cope with the modern circumstances. Most governments have taken cognizance of the fact that work places pose a great danger to health. Policies to ensure the safety of the workers have been put in place. The U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) developed a summary of levels of interventions and categories of prevention. Intervention in the primary level refers to efforts to protect the health of people who have not yet become sick. Secondary prevention involves early detection and prompt and effective efforts to correct the beginning stages of illness (for example, reversing high blood pressure, building up of plaque in the arteries, or chronic insomnia, before a heart attack occurs). Tertiary prevention consists of measures to reduce or eliminate long-term impairments and disabilities and minimize suffering after illness has occurred (for example, rehabilitation and return-to-work after a heart attack) (Landsbergis, 2009).
Impact of Work Place stress on Health
Rapid growth in economic activities and rise in consumer needs may create a pace unfavorable to the workers. As a result workers may be unable to cope with the situations. It is in such circumstances that pressure evolves among workers. Depressing stress grows and majority of workers may succumb to depression or insomnia. There are also occupational consequences for example, dissatisfactions in one’s job, less dedication to the organization’s vision, decreased performance and failing to report to duty or non attendance. Ellis argues that in the early stages job stress can ‘rev up’ the body and enhance performance in the work place thus the term ‘I perform better while 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 (Allis, 2005).
There exists a great variation on how people get affected by work-related stress and this also depends on how long they have been subjected to the source of stress and the amount or level of the stress itself. Typical symptoms of job stress can be: Insomnia, loss of mental concentration, anxiety, depression, sexual problems, alcohol and drug use, diabetes, heart disease, migraine, headaches, high blood pressure, digestive problems, skin rushes, sweating, blurred vision, tiredness and sleep problems, muscular tension, stomach problems and back problems. Stress at work place interferes with family life. There are cases where spouses fail to fulfill conjugal rights of their partners. The emotional life of the employees is normally affected and their libido lowers as such. It is from this that there are mood swings, poor appetite and low spirits.
In a random sample of just over 300 medical doctors and consultants throughout Germany, various job-related variables were assessed together with sociodemographic data including time-related parameters work, and specific categories of accidents (moving vehicle and work-related). Occupational stress was related to number of weekly working hours, duration of the lunch-break, as well as age. Moving vehicle accidents were significantly correlated with the incidence of work related accidents during the last year. There was no evidence that medical doctors working longer weekly hours were more likely to be involved in a driving or work-related accident per se, but they did tend to report more accidents during house visits. Moving vehicle accidents were best predicted by the onset of working day as well as the number of dependent children (more children associated with fewer accidents). Furthermore, work-related accidents were significantly more frequent in larger communities and when surgeries were later in finishing (PsycINFO Database Record, 2009). Look around. One of ten people you see at work, at the store, and wherever you go in your daily live is over stressed at any given moment. Scientists agree that stress causes actual chemical changes in the brain, and these changes can influence the state of your health (Cornforth, 2007).
There has been an on-going observation on the impact that stress has on the entire health of a person. Stress is associated with many backaches complaints and cancerous effects and chronic fatigue syndrome. Women may succumb to failure in menstruation or unusual blood loss. Hormonal imbalances as a result of stress may propagate the symptoms of fibroid tumors and endometriosis as well as make pregnancy difficult to realize for married partners with cases of infertility or impotence. Heart problems, high blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke are also stress related cardiovascular conditions. The effects go to the extent of interfering with the sexuality of women and sexual dysfunctions such as decreased desire and vaginal dryness. As outlined earlier, case of emotional problems may also arise such as depression, anxiety and lack of sleep. Gastrointestinal disorders, for example, ulcers and lower abdominal cramps. In most cases, people undergoing work related stress will have more infections in form of colds and other infections due to lowered immune system responses. . As noted earlier, work related stress not only affects our physicality but also extends to our psychological realm. In deed, it has severe psychological coercion. It is in the work place that busy schedules, arguments between colleagues or line managers with their junior staffs, accountants under pressure to settle bills or inconveniences as a result of traffic jam cause a lot of stress. Here, the body undergoes very strong reactions similar to the reactions faced when one is challenged and has to make a choice between life and death. This is never a pleasant situation and a lot of bodily tension occurs. Workers with lots of duties and responsibilities and worries due to deadlines, their response to stress is always on high alert. In fact, there are workers who succumb to such situations in the entire working life. Such long-term exposure to stress may can translate to grave health problems and complications. This is what can be referred to a chronic stress which actually disorganizes almost every system of the body. It is in such instance that one can fall victim of blood pressure, heart attack, impotence and even the person is more vulnerable to grow old prematurely.
It would be of paramount importance to not only look into the effects of work related stress on health but also understand the causes of such stress and how to manage it. In most cases a big percentage of employees globally will confess that their work is the source of stress in their lives. No wonder comments like ‘I had a very busy day’ or ‘had a stressful day with my client’ or ‘my boss does never understand’ and many others. As noted in an article published by Bupa’s health information team… Health and Safety Executive survey, one in six of all working individuals in UK reported that their job is very or extremely stressful. Work-related stress is also one of the biggest causes of sick leave (Bupa, 2008).
Some of the causes associated with stress include vulnerable and miserable working conditions, prolonged working periods, type of relationship with colleagues since team work is entrenched on this fact, diminished job security, means of transport may be unfavorable to some employees hence challenges in trying to commute to and from work, management of the company and low salaries and wages to mention a few. There are employees who feel under worked or overworked or feel that their job designation does not match their qualifications. For example, when one is supposed to serve as an accountant but assigned as the front office manager or a receptionist. These from the word go does not give satisfaction to the employee. In rare cases will one posit a particular cause of work-related stress. All in all it can evolve due to sudden, unexpected pressures and more so due to the combination of stressful factors that develop as time goes. . As mentioned earlier, pressure is an indisputable factor in any work place. In strict sense, no work without pressure, therefore employees need to educate themselves on how to deal with stress successfully. The negative aspects of job stress need to be pruned in a number of ways. For example, every employer should seek to understand how they function at work. This builds their self esteem at all times. Good time management to avoid inconveniences, for example, in the case when one is caught up in a traffic jam and cannot get to work in time. It would be prudent to start moving early. If one is faced with many deadlines and tasks to perform, one can prioritize them in order of importance and urgency. Through team work, one can delegate some of the work to other colleagues. Break and relaxation is also highly recommended. There are employees who want to do many tasks at the same time instead of doing one task and after its completion take on the other. Managers should create a conducive atmosphere for all where each employee feels comfortable and accepted. . Organizations should at least, have a health and safety officer who can ensure that proper mechanisms have been put in place to safeguard the workers from unnecessary causes of work-related stress.
In deed, work-related stress is an omen that will keep on affecting the lives of many organizations. We have seen the symbiotic relationship there is between pressure and any work environment. I strongly agree that much is on how to deal with work related stress. It is clear that we cannot eradicate it in our reality as workers. Any government must put in place measures that address the basic needs of workers or rights of workers and essentially to protect them from risks posed to their health due to job stress. Any employer or organization who deliberately fails to provide a comfortable work environment should be said to commit a crime punishable by law and. In addition, a compensation policy should also be entrenched to reward all workers who suffer unjustly from work related stress.