Monday, July 8, 2013

Stress at Work-place - A Negative Phenomenon

By Nandita Mohanty

“Hey , what’s up?”

“Ohh yaar, don’t ask. I am really stressed out. Life has become hell.”

“Why? What happened ? You are in a government concern in good position. Then what is your problem? One fine morning Varun asked his friend Mitrabhanu.”

That’s right. But now a days there is so much work pressure. Everything is target oriented. Scheduled work has to be finished in scheduled time. If the target will not be achieved then it will count my future. As I am a good worker the expectation of my Boss is also very high. Sometimes I am unable to cope up with this and in stress. It is also hampering my personal life.”

This is not the case of only one Mitrabhanu. There are many such people suffering like this. Similar is the case of Smita working in a corporate house. The organization where Smita works, provide the banking solutions to a western country. As the client is a western country the timing is adjusted accordingly. Smita has to work from 12 o’clock in night to 7 o’clock in the morning. After coming from her duty she wants to take rest. For that her house- hold core will be delayed. Her daughter will miss the school bus. Husband will be deprived of breakfast and lunch box. For which there will be a fight everyday. At last things become so stressed that Smita has to quit the job.

In this modern life style we come across this word ‘stress’ more often. Modern life is full of stress. Stress on individual ranges from personal day to day life to organizational activities. Now life is fast and challenging. Everyone wants to succeed in life. People are becoming more and more ambitious and want to excel in every field. Life is multi-faceted now. Urbanization, industrialization and increase in scale of operation in organizations also add to the increase in stress. In this changing environment, participation, interaction, transaction, planning and regulation become the key issues, each with its own share of frustration , there by attracting stresses. People feel stress as they don’t have full control over what is happening in life. There is no escape from stress in modern life. In today’s context “stress is costly business expense that affects both employees’ health and organizational profit. Therefore it has become customary to understand the concept of stress, its causes and impact and adopting strategies for minimizing the impact.”

Stress is basically the impact of one object on another. There are three terms which are used synonymously to denote this phenomenon; stress , strain and pressure. There are very small differences in these terms. Stress is basically used in physical sciences which mean pressure of one object on another. From physical sciences the term “stress” came to medical sciences and finally to social sciences. As per the medical explanation the term stress is the body’s natural response to environmental situations. Selye, who has done considerable research on this subject has viewed stress as the“non-specifically induced changes within a biological system.”

Job-stress or work-place stress is a condition arising from the interaction of people and their jobs and characterized by the changes within people that force them to deviate from their normal functioning.

Stress may result in any kind of deviation- physical, psychological or behavioural in person. This deviation is from usual state of affairs or usual behavior of a person. From this point of view, stress is different from anxiety and more comprehensive than the later. Anxiety is a state of mind which lasts for small period of time and has a less impact on human behavior. But strees has stronger impact which may result in more precise destruction in personal and organizational affairs. Stress may be the result of individual’s interaction with the environmental stimuli .The stimuli may be in the form of interaction with environment, people event and so on the impact of the stimuli produces deviation in the individual.

There are many conditions in which people may feel stress. The conditions that tend to cause stress are known as stressors. The stressors may be individual, group and organizational.

Individual stressors and group stressors are all time present but organizational stressors play a vital role in life of an individual in this changing world. As an organization is composed of individuals and different groups, therefore individual stressors and group stressors may also exist in organizational context. The major organizational stressors are as follows:-

Organizational policy: Organizational policies provide guidelines for action. Unfavourable and ambiguous policies may affect the functioning of the individuals adversely and they may experience stress. Thus unfair and arbitrary performance evaluation, unrealistic job description, frequently reallocation of activities, rotating work shifts, ambiguous procedure, inflexible rules, inequality of incentives etc. work as stressors in work-place.

Organizational structure:- Organisation structure provide formal relationship among individuals in an organization. Any defect in organization structure, lack of participation in decision making, lack of opportunity for advancement, high degree of specialization, excessive inter dependence of various departments, line and staff conflict etc. work as stressors as relationship among individuals and groups do not work effectively.

Organizational process:- Organizational process also affect individual behavior at work –place. Faulty organizational processes like poor communication, poor and inadequate feedback work performance, ambiguous and conflicting roles, unfair control systems, inadequate information flow causes stress for the people in the work-place.

Physical conditions:- Organization’s physical conditions also affect work performance in the work-place. Thus poor physical conditions like crowding and lack of privacy, excessive noise, excessive heat or cold, presence of toxic chemicals and radiations, air pollution, safety hazards, poor lighting etc produce stress in people in the work-place.

Thus stress is an negative phenomenon. Stress management is necessary when stress over-power the physical and mental health of a person. Stressors are destructive by nature. Though total escape from stress is not possible, proper stress management should be adopted to minimize it in the work-place.

( The writer is now working as Postal Assistant, Ashoknagar MDG, Bhubaneswar – 751 009 and is a member of All India Postal Employees Union, Group-C, Bhubaneswar Division )


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