Friday, April 2, 2010

The Top 10 Cause of Stress and How to Overcome Them

By Lester Sim

Stress in the workplace is becoming more common these days.
Among factors that contribute to workplace stress are
competition among employees, large workloads, negative work
attitudes, quality control, legal challenges, training, and
office politics. It is time for the management to be aware
of how serious stress levels are in their respective
departments and review the best Stress Management solutions
for its employees. Here are the top ten causes of stress as
described by The Global Business and Economic Round Table on
Addiction and Mental Health:

1. Lack of Control - It is vital to take into account the
opinion of workers on the ground before implementing a
new policy that could change their work orientation. If
workers are forced to accept change when they have no say at
all, they would feel that their voice is unimportant to the
management. View how employees respond to the ideas, and
consider any alternative that would create a win-win
situation for both parties rather than force-feeding
employees. Stress management is about having a productive
and effective work environment.

2. Lack of Communication - Two-way communication is always
the best method when it comes to conveying messages to all
workers. Hold a session on Employee Communication to
announce company profit, lost, revenue, future planning,
current situation, bonuses, etc. instead of using static
communication tools like memos all the time. Be open to
their suggestions. When this is successful, you will see
that everybody is proactive and contributing where
communication is concerned.

3. No Appreciation - When an employee shows better job
performance, or improves on attendance or in any other
aspects of job, sincere praise would greatly increase their
motivation and self-confidence. Small gifts on their
birthdays will also make them feel appreciated. Tell them
how much the company appreciates their service. Nothing
enlightens a busy day more than having a caring and
appreciative boss.

4. No Feedback, Good or Bad - Let the employees know if
they have been doing things right or if they need to improve
on some areas by providing professional feedback through
personalized reply. When they submit their work, or propose
some ideas to you, at least listen to them. Occasionally
employers may not even realize that some workers feel
ignored, stressed and in need of some attention.

5. Career and Job Ambiguity - Helplessness happens when
people are feeling uncertain about their jobs, especially
when rumors like salary delay, retrenchment, mergers, and
plant closing spreads. It is important to keep workers
informed about current situations despite the already
stressed situation.

6. Unclear Policies and No Sense of Direction - In order to
get employees to understand company policies, we must
encourage both passive and active two-way communication
through bulletins, group discussions and memos and ensure
that the message is clear to everybody. Distribute printouts
of guidelines to the relevant employees to reduce chaos in
the workplace. Also allow some time for employees to adjust
to any new situations.

7. Mistrust and Unfairness -Be careful of how you treat your
employees and try your best to be fair, unbiased and
balanced in your judgments. Keep an open-door policy with
employees to avoid misunderstanding, and to help find out
what people think about managerial decisions. Treat
everybody equally to build sense of trust between you and
the employees.

8. Pervasive Uncertainty - Reinforcing new policies may give
stress to employees as they may be used to the old style of
doing their job. To help them out, prepare detailed
instructions in black and white for everyone to refer to.
One good tip on reducing the stress is to train the
employees whenever there are new implementations in the
office, to provide the knowledge on the new policies.

9. Random Interruptions - Walk-ins, call-ins, ringing mobile
phones, and spontaneous, constant demands from managers and
supervisors always disturb employee focus on the job he's
doing and stresses him out. Proper allocation of time, work
distribution, and knowing how to handle busy situation can
reduce this stress.

10. Workload - Having too much to do, or too little to do
can also put stress on people. Managers must be aware of the
amount of work they are putting on everyone and help to
prioritize which task comes first. They should also know the
right number of people to hire. Divide work according to
each employee's expertise, and give training for those who
are lacking experience.

Stress management in the workplace is vital. Stress-related
illness like heart attack, insomnia, high blood pressure,
and mental problems are on the rise and can be the result of
not having proper stress management techniques in place.

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