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Organizational Factors Of Stress

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Question:

Define Stress. Briefly describe the Symptoms of Stress and Explain the role of the HR department in helping Employees cope with Stress.
 
 

Answer:

Definition of Stress:

The report is based on the Google Company. Stress is considered as an emotional disturbance that is created out of demanding or adverse circumstances (Nieuwenhuijsen & Bruinvels, 2010). Generally, it can happen to a person at school, college or workplace when the demands become more than the person’s capability, or so equal that the person need to stretch himself or herself to the optimum level. Stress can be defined as a dynamic condition within which a person confronts an opportunity, demand or constraint in relation to the desires of the particular individual, and the outcome of the same is important and uncertain. The stress can be either physical, mental or emotional.

Generally, the physical stress is something that an individual feels when the worker is made to work beyond the working hours, and the same person feels the fatigue but still needs to work. The physical capacity of the person might give way to feeling sleepy, fatigued, and the same individual might not be able to work for a long time (De Cenzo, et al., 2013). This physical fatigue of the worker can create a huge problem for the entire company.  The mental stress might occur when the given work is too difficult or complex to understand. Such a complex piece of work might even become stressful when it is not explained properly by the management, and there is nobody to seek help (Berman & Bowman, 2012). The emotional stress might occur due to quarrels at home or at the workplace, which the management is completely unaware of.

The mental stress is higher in the company than the physical stress. Most of the people at the company are generally concerned about the mental stress created by the company for enhancing the creativity at workplace. The employees are also given extra leaves for doing something creative, which increases more pressure on the brains to do something creative. The employees are rather forced to bring out something creative, and targets on increasing their creative potential is given, which is a big stress factor even for the expert employees at the company.  

All the persons are not equally creative, and so, this particular stress factor is often observed in many companies where the project depends on the creativity of a particular employee. The employee gets no help or previous material to perform the project, however, the pressure from the management remains to make it something creative. This creates a stress factor within many companies, and this company is one of them.

 

Report Summary:

The report covers the negative effects of stress mainly concerned with workplace, which is detrimental both to the individual as well as the company. It can make the company lose a valuable employee either due to resignation or illness (Ji & Kim, 2011). The report also covers the HRM techniques that are utilized to give work-life balance to all the employees at the company  

Causes of Stress:

There are two common causes of stress in the workplace, namely, organizational and personal. The organizational stress consists of extra pressure of work given by the management whereas the personal stress is mainly caused due to pressure of certain work at household, which might increase the stress because an individual need to complete both the household chores as well as the professional work (Cooper & Marshall, 2013).

Organizational Factors of Stress:

Task Demands:

The task demands that causes stress are mainly related to the job design, the working condition, the physical layout and the work quotas. The job design means the type of work an individual has to do, the condition of work mainly stresses on the ambience, the physical layout of a job indicates the amount of physical labor one has to put in (Carter & Danford, 2013). The foreign nationals are   themselves under some stress as they have to perform in unknown circumstances. There they find that some other expatriate employees have lower levels of job demands. This is again a cause of stress. 

The job design of various companies are of different kinds. Some kind of work are completely intellectual, where the individual needs to do an audit, or write a management report in the office. Some work consists of physical labor like the cleaning of the office (Fjorback & Arendt, 2011). However, nowadays, multitasking is something that is mainly stressed on due to the maximum number of work becoming automated. This is actually making the work more stressful for the employees at the company.  

The working condition and the physical layout mainly talks about the office ambience. Sometimes, the office ambience is too bad, and the overall workplace does not look like an office. The facilities of toilets, the air-conditioners and the refreshments in the office are not satisfactory. Mostly, the employees at the company here adapts to two things, one, the bad atmosphere, and secondly, the work pressure. This kind of atmosphere is bound to increase the stress (Glasser & Meagher, 2014).

The foreign nationals are quite different than the locals because they are under the work quota. They have certain restrictions in the amount of money they can send to their own country. These nationals also get the work visa for only a limited amount of time.  (Boss & Bryant, 2016). So, they want to earn the maximum amount of money possible within a very short period of time. Owing to this, they work overtime and that also goes on to increase the stress factor. 

Role Demands:

Overload, conflicts and ambiguity are the main causes of stress related to role demands. Often too much work is put on an individual due to the team target and the company’s profit without concern for the person. Ambiguity signifies when an individual does not find much help to do a particular work even if one doesn’t understand it (Gold & Smith, 2010). The process of getting help is very vague, and everything is expected to be understood. The conflicts are generally with the management where the individual demands are not properly met.

Work overload is mainly signified by the increase of work pressure over time only by concentrating on the business profits without any concern for the worker. This is also harmful for the company  because it decreases the retention rate, and makes the company lose valuable employees.   (Selye, 2013). Moreover, the increase of stress can decrease the quality of service by the worker. This is a fact which has been sometimes noted amidst the working at the company.

 


Conflicts within the company signifies either the conflicts with the management or the conflicts among the fellow employees at the company. The conflicts at workplace increases the stress and decreases work productivity because it increases the passive aggression (Henderson & Harvey, 2011). Ambiguity at workplace is the worst because it makes everything in the company quite vague. The employees at company don’t understand their responsibility, their type of work, and the overall business of the subject company. It increases apprehensions, which increases the stress.

Interpersonal Demands:

The social support at a workplace comes when most of the people involved with a particular work are supportive (Backé & Seidler, 2012). However, when racial slurs and insulting another person at office is very commonplace, it can even increase the stress.

Organizational Structure:

Every company department has a structure or a hierarchy for the promotion, the management, and how everything is coordinated in the office (Wolever & Bobinet, 2012). If the coordination falters, or when it becomes too vague, then it increases the stress in the minds of a worker.

The organizational structure of the company is very hierarchal where the employees at the company need to follow the orders coming from the higher ranks, and the type of leadership is quite authoritarian at the top level (Marmot & Allen, 2012). However, the leadership is also participative, and the company tries to reduce stress by giving a number of leaves to the employees at the company. The organizational structure of the company is given below:-

(Berman & Bowman, 2012)

Organizational Leadership:

The authoritarian leadership increases the stress in minds of workers at the company because the employees at the company always remain fearful of the boss (Grahn & Stigsdotter, 2010). This philosophy might always make an employee become apprehensive about losing the job, and thus, it creates more stress on the work.

Personal Factors of Stress:

Family Issues:

Some of the workers at the company might have certain disputes in the family, which results in an increased amount of stress in the workplace (Backé & Seidler, 2012). The conflicts of a family often create a thinking barrier in the mentality of a person at work. So, many companies advise people to wear an imaginary professional cap at workplace.

Economic Problems:

Some people have economic issues like pending loans, house rent, etc., which they don’t openly discuss at workplace either with the colleagues or the management (Carter & Danford, 2013). Such issues coupled with an increased pressure of work often creates a stress at workplace, which increases because the individual cannot communicate it with the management.

Inherent Personality Characteristics:

There are two types of personalities that are often found among the employees at the company, namely, the Type A and the Type B personalities. Often, the management ignores it but should not. The Type A personalities are very competitive, aggressive, and want to get promoted. These people also want incentives (Cooper & Marshall, 2013). However, the Type B personality always want more freedom to work, and are not too competitive. Too much work on the Type B and too little work on the Type A personality can increase stress at workplace.

Symptoms of Stress:

The physiological stress symptoms are an increase in blood pressure, headache, as well as an increase in the pulse rate (Backé & Seidler, 2012). These symptoms are very difficult to find out, and often goes unnoticed. The physiological stress factors also include some observable symptoms by the management like not willing to take part in conversations, restless behavior, and a visible fear during the conversation with the management are certain symptoms that can make the management understand the person is under extreme stress.

The psychological symptoms are an increased boredom towards the work day by day, increase of anxiety and tension, as well as an attitude to procrastinate, which is detrimental to the company  (Gold & Smith, 2010). The psychological symptoms are an extrovert in the company office suddenly getting introvert, and stopping to talk to others. When asked, the individual always replies being busy. Such manners are highly probable indicators of stress.

 


The behavioral symptoms related to stress includes the sleep disorders, increase of smoking and substance abuse, and these things also affect the quality of work in an adverse manner (Cooper & Marshall, 2013). The company does not allow smoking within the corporate workplace, and the employees need to go out of the premises for a smoke. However, if an employee is observed quite often in the smoke breaks, then it can be assumed that some kind of stress is going on inside that person.

Unemployment and fear of losing a job was a big stress at workplace during the 90s, however, the employees were not much pressurized to learn the computer oriented skills. In the 21st century, the fear of losing jobs, and its related stress is a lot less mainly owing to the increase of jobs. However, it is also to be noted that the increasing pressure of overtime, and work demands increase greater amount of stress.

Reducing Stress:

Explain the role of the HR department in helping employees at the company cope with stress:

HR department should help the people come out of stress factors by establishing a good communication with them (Grahn & Stigsdotter, 2010). The worst HR scenario is when the employees at the company are afraid to communicate. The decreased communication also helps in the increased loss of a business.

Discuss the techniques HR can implement such as:

The HR department helps the individuals to get the required job according to their qualification, as well as the likes and dislikes of a person. It is always in the minds of the HR team that a person who doesn’t like one’s job would never make oneself happy or the company happy.  

HRM Approaches:

Matching Individuals to Their Jobs:

Every individual gets their job according to their qualifications, experience, and likings. The HRM division should allow the employees at the company to join a particular kind of work only when the same employee is deemed fit in that particular job as well as has some likings for the job (Backé & Seidler, 2012). It is quite difficult for an employee to survive in a particular field if the same employee has no liking for that kind of job.

Clarifying Expectations:

The HRM department helps the employees at the company understand the exact kind of facilities, salary, and perks they are likely to get. The HR department also tries to understand the body language of the employees at the company when the facilities, perks and other factors are informed (De Cenzo, et al., 2013). Moreover, the HR team always tries to start with the loopholes of a particular job so that the employees at the company become ready for them during the beginning.

Redesigning Jobs:

The same kind of work is not often given to the same employees at the company, and the types of jobs are often redesigned to make an employee taste the variety. There might be three types of jobs in the operations, namely, keeping the records, meeting the clients and checking whether all the registration forms are filled up properly or not. In such circumstances, where the job nature is a bit monotonous, the management generally incorporates job rotation so that there is no boredom among the employees  (Fjorback & Arendt, 2011).

 

Offering Employee Involvement and Participation:

The proper communication is established by involving the employees at the company in sports, meetings, and grading their managers according to their performance. When the decision of the employees at the company are taken into account, and their valuable opinions are also asked for the improvement of business, it is quite natural that their enthusiasm about the work would consequently increase (Glasser & Meagher, 2014). This reduces stresses in the workplace a lot when they understand the meaning of a democratic and participative leadership.

Wellness Programs:

The wellness programs consists of exercises, yoga, meditation and other such parameters that can be used as an alternative stress buster at work. There are many companies that have made an exercise program compulsory for all the employees at the company  (Grahn & Stigsdotter, 2010). Such programs often relieves the mental stress at work, and also helps in concentrating on the work in a more positive manner.

Conclusion:

The overall project deals with the way the stress of an employee is managed at the workplace because it adversely affects the business as well as the overall performance of the company  (Nieuwenhuijsen & Bruinvels, 2010). So, there are several techniques used by the HRM for the same purpose, which is given in the workplace. The techniques are actually used for understanding the problems related to the factors of increasing of stress. The increase of stress affects a company employee in a different manner. It decreases the productivity of a workplace, which is why; the HRM department has taken the initiative for adjusting with this factor.

The stress factor increases related to many factors like emotional conflicts, mental turmoil, workplace ambiguity and the physical stress that is dependent on the overload. The HRM division makes several techniques for understanding the main cause of stress in the workplace, and adjusts with the same in a proper way (Nieuwenhuijsen & Bruinvels, 2010). The HRM uses manifold techniques for reducing the stress factors at workplace like mentioning the facilities and the drawbacks related to a particular type of work, and it would also help in understanding the willingness of an employee in a particular type of work, and help the employee to get a job based on his qualification and his likings.

 

References

Backé, E. & Seidler, A., 2012. The role of psychosocial stress at work for the development of cardiovascular diseases: a systematic review. International archives of occupational and environmental health, 85(1), pp. 67-79.

Berman, E. & Bowman, J., 2012. Human resource management in public service: Paradoxes, processes, and problems. 3 ed. London: Sage.

Boss, P. & Bryant, C., 2016. Family stress management: A contextual approach. 6 ed. London: Sage Publications.

Carter, B. & Danford, A., 2013. ‘Stressed out of my box’: employee experience of lean working and occupational ill-health in clerical work in the UK public sector. Work, employment and society, 27(5), pp. 747-767.

Cooper, C. & Marshall, J., 2013. Occupational sources of stress: A review of the literature relating to coronary heart disease and mental ill health. From Stress to Wellbeing , 1(1), pp. 3-23.

De Cenzo, D., Robbins, S. & Verhurst, S., 2013. Human Resources Managment. 11 ed. New Zealand: John Wiley and Sons.

Fjorback, L. & Arendt, M., 2011. Mindfulness?Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness?Based Cognitive Therapy–a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 12(4), pp. 102-119.

Glasser, M. & Meagher, J., 2014. Choice theory. 5 ed. London: Harper Collins Publishers.

Gold, E. & Smith, A., 2010. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) for primary school teachers. Journal of child and family studies, 19(2), pp. 184-189.

Grahn, P. & Stigsdotter, U., 2010. The relation between perceived sensory dimensions of urban green space and stress restoration. Landscape and urban planning, 94(3), pp. 264-275.

Henderson, M. & Harvey, S., 2011. Work and common psychiatric disorders. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 10(4), pp. 198-207.

Ji, K. & Kim, J., 2011. Effect of high-pressure oxygen annealing on negative bias illumination stress-induced instability of InGaZnO thin film transistors. Applied Physics Letters, 98(7), pp. 103-509.

Marmot, M. & Allen, J., 2012. WHO European review of social determinants of health and the health divide. The Lancet, 98(9), pp. 1011-1029.

Nieuwenhuijsen, K. & Bruinvels, D., 2010. Psychosocial work environment and stress-related disorders, a systematic review. Occupational medicine, 60(4), pp. 277-286.

Selye, H., 2013. Stress in health and disease. 7 ed. London: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Wolever, R. & Bobinet, K., 2012. Effective and viable mind-body stress reduction in the workplace: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of occupational health psychology, 17(2), p. 246.

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