Stress In The Workplace
According to the Australian Council of Trade Unions’ (A.C.T.U.) 1997 survey, fifty per cent of workers had suffered some form of stress at work in a 12-month period. The statistics in care professions were even higher, with the Department of Education and Training in Western Australia reporting in its 2002 Attitudes To Teaching stress less lavender medi oil Survey that seventy per cent of teachers identified workplace stress as a cause for concern in their teaching positions.
Stress in the workplace is becoming a major concern for employers, managers and government agencies, owing to the Occupational Health and Safety legislations requiring employers to practice ‘duty of care’ by providing employees with safe working environments which also cover the psychological wellbeing of their staff.
One of the costs, for employers, of work place stress is absenteeism, with the A.C.T.U. reporting that owing to stress, nearly fifty per cent of employees surveyed had taken time off work. Other negative effects were reductions in productivity, reduced profits, accidents, high rates of sickness, increased workers’ compensation claims and high staff turnover, requiring recruiting and training of replacement staff.
While a certain amount of stress is needed to motivate individuals into action, prolonged stress can have a huge impact on overall health. More than two-thirds of visits to doctors’ surgeries are for stress-related illnesses. Stress has been linked to headaches, backaches, insomnia, anger, cramps, elevated blood pressure, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and lowered resistance to infection. For women, stress is a key factor in hormonal imbalances resulting in menstrual irregularities, PMS, fibroids, endometriosis and fertility problems. Stress can also be a factor in the development of almost all disease states including cancer and heart disease.
Each profession has its own unique factors that may cause stress; below are some causes of stress that cross many professions:
· Increased workload
· Organizational changes
· Lack of recognition
· High demands
· Lack of support
· Personal and family issues
· Poor work organization
· Lack of training
· Long or difficult hours
· Inadequate staff numbers and resources
· Poor management communication
· Lack of control or input
So what can be done to effectively manage workplace stress?
· Educate their employees to recognise the signs of stress.
· Where possible, give their employees the chance to be involved in decisions and actions that affect their jobs.
· Improve employer-employee communications.
· Provide employees with opportunities to socialise together.
· Be understanding of employees’ personal and family responsibilities.