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Causes of Workplace Stress

What are the general causes of workplace stress? What can organizations do to manage workplace stress? How can an organization evaluate the impact that stress-prevention and stress management programs have on its performance?

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1. What are the general causes of workplace stress? What can organizations do to management workplace stress? How can an organization evaluate the impact that stress-prevention and stress management programs have on its performance?

According to CDC, the definition of job stress is:

"Job stress 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. Job stress can lead to poor health and even injury. 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." (http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/stresswk.html).

The following ten causes of workplace stress-causing situations were proposed by Wilkerson (names that he gave each of these causes are in quotation marks).

1. "The treadmill syndrome."

Employees who consistently have too much or too little to do creates a lot of stress. Some employees are highly stressed because they simply have too many responsibilities. Others work around the clock, not necessarily on the clock, but throughout the day and at home. These are generally the employees who have too much to do and too many responsibilities.

Solution: You can control stress caused by the treadmill syndrome by making sure work is evenly divided and properly prioritized. Sometimes you can save money by hiring additional employees and reducing the additional costs of excessive stress.

2. "Random interruptions."

Interruptions keep employees from getting their work done - telephones, walk-in visits, supervisor's demands.

Solution: You can control this type stress by encouraging proper time management, delegation of responsibilities, and clarification of expectations.

3. "Pervasive uncertainty."

Uncertainty is created by constant, unsatisfactorily explained or unannounced change.

Solution: Keeping everyone well informed can reduce stress and improve productivity. Take time to meet with people and put the details in a written memo so they can review the facts after the emotions cool down.

4. "Distrust, unfairness, and office politics."

These situations keep everyone on edge and uncertain about the future. Management of trust and fairness is just as important as any other management tool. If people cannot trust management, performance goes down. And, everyone is affected if even one employee is treated unfairly.

Solution: You have to make sure everyone is treated fairly - in fact and in perception. Word spreads quickly, and everyone sympathizes with the "victim," as they see it. They feel ...

Solution Summary

This solution identifies the general causes of workplace stress and a multitude of organizational strategies and techniques to manage workplace stress. It also explains how an organization can evaluate the impact that stress-prevention and stress management programs have on its performance.

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