Workplace Stress All Stressed Out and Nowhere Term Paper

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Workplace Stress

All Stressed Out and Nowhere to Go:

How Mangers Can Reduce Workplace Stress

To highlight a system to enhance the reduction of workplace stress that can be employed by managers in most work settings.

Workplace stress is one of the most significant of all work related problems. Individuals experiencing some stress in the workplace tend to prosper in that it creates a system, when it is moderate that drives personal growth, development and positive mental health. (Rue & Byers, 2006, p. 348) So, it is safe to assume that some level of workplace stress is actually productive, while excessive or prolonged stress can be extremely destructive. It is the job of the good manager to identify and react when workplace stress becomes detrimental.

According to the American Institute of Stress, stress costs U.S. businesses an estimated $300 billion dollars a year through several means including, lost productivity, increased employee compensation claims, increased employee turnover and lastly increased health care costs. According to the same source; "...stress is a factor in up to 80% of all work-related injuries, a major factor in 40% of all turnovers, and a major contributor in 75 to 90% of primary care physician visits." The Bureau of Labor statistics agrees sighting that the average cost per employee per year to business for stress related losses is about $10,000. (Rue & Byers, 2006, p. 348)Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Workplace Stress All Stressed Out and Nowhere Assignment

Stress itself, defined as the, "...mental or physical condition that results from a perceived threat of danger (physical or mental) and the pressure to remove it." (Rue & Byers, 2006, p. 348) Many individuals site work as the number one source of stress found in their lives. In a stressful work environment one finds that demands perceptually threaten the individual's capacity to physically or mentally meet such demands. Stress is exacerbated when the individual does not feel that they are being compensated adequately for such demands and that they have limited internal and external resources to deal with it. Furthermore, workplace stress can seriously contribute to all levels of conflict and even mental and physical violence in the workplace. (Rue & Byers, 2006, p. 348-349)

Several recommendations are made by Rue and Byers to allow the manager to more effectively recognize and deal with workplace stress:

Conducting a workplace stress audit

Creating organizational guidelines based on audit to reduce stress including:

Offering resources to aide individuals in managing personal stress

Such as developing Wellness Programs and/or other Employee Assistance Programs

Recognizing and intervening in potential burnout situations

Creating systems to avoid and deal with workplace violence in all its forms

INTRODUCTION

There are many causal factors to workplace stress as well as ideas for solutions to reducing workplace stress. As can be seen in the executive summary, the significance of workplace stress warrants the introduction of change in management and organizations that foster only the appropriate level of workplace stress to illicit progress and attempt to alleviate or reduce that which is extreme or prolonged to better serve the employee and the organization

Purpose and Scope

This work will serve as a guide for the development of best practices for the reduction of workplace stress, with an emphasis on the ability of management to universally reduce workplace stress.

The work will first demonstrate the significance of the problem using topical and timely literature to address the concern. It will then assess the causal factors of workplace stress, using a brief literary analysis. Lastly the work will embark on an outline to demonstrate change within the workplace that will improve the condition of workplace stress.

I will not discuss the cost of such programs but will instead assume that most costs would be offset by a reduction in excessive workplace stress.

Assumptions

The assumptions of this work are based upon solid research, in that the development of workplace stress reduction programs, as a reduction of loss is not proven effective in every case, but anecdotal evidence suggest such and if such programs are effective research will likely prove the affirmative in the future. Furthermore, results from extensive support research, conducted by others in varied work populations as well as environments could be applied to my organization or any organization.

Methods

This work will rely heavily on literature, as a guide for the understanding of workplace stress and on developing appropriate interventions for stress. It is important to understand that many work places are inherently stressful, due to the nature of the work done there but that universalities can be achieved if audits are conducted effectively. (Kowalski, Harmon, Yorks & Kowalski, 2003, p. 39) There is also significant evidence that such audits can elicit ideas that management might not have originated, due to the fact that they are not always aware of front-line issues. Additional information will be garnered from literature associated with the development of Employee Assistance Programs, such as the one utilized by the organization I manage.

Limitations

This work would be greatly advanced by a research-based experiment where a workplace stress audit was conducted before and after the implementation of a EAP and other workplace stress reduction tactics, in a group of moderate size, as assumptions made from literature are not always generalizable.

The Nature of Workplace Stress in U.S. Businesses

Workplace stress is one of the most significant of all work related problems. Individuals experiencing some stress in the workplace tend to prosper in that it creates a system, when it is moderate that drives personal growth, development and positive mental health. (Rue & Byers, 2006, p. 349) So, it is safe to assume that some level of workplace stress is actually productive, while excessive or prolonged stress can be extremely destructive. It is the job of the good manager to identify and react when workplace stress becomes detrimental.

According to the American Institute of Stress, stress costs U.S. businesses an estimated $300 billion dollars a year through several means including, lost productivity, increased employee compensation claims, increased employee turnover and lastly increased health care costs. According to the same source; "...stress is a factor in up to 80% of all work-related injuries, a major factor in 40% of all turnovers, and a major contributor in 75 to 90% of primary care physician visits." The Bureau of Labor statistics agrees sighting that the average cost per employee per year to business for stress related losses is about $10,000. (Rue & Byers, 2006, p. 349)

Stress itself, defined as the, "...mental or physical condition that results from a perceived threat of danger (physical or mental) and the pressure to remove it." (Rue & Byers, 2006, p. 349) Many individuals site work as the number one source of stress found in their lives. In a stressful work environment one finds that demands perceptually threaten the individual's capacity to physically or mentally meet such demands. Stress is exacerbated when the individual does not feel that they are being compensated adequately for such demands and that they have limited internal and external resources to deal with it. (Rue & Byers, 2006, p. 349)

Furthermore, workplace stress can seriously contribute to all levels of conflict and even mental and physical violence in the workplace. It is clear from research of the literature that many individuals experience workplaces that foster violence. This violence can be moderate, in the sense that it consists of conflicts being aired between individuals with raised voices and even verbal threats. Violence also occasionally results in physical altercations, including the very public demonstration of workplace shootings and other physical altercations. (Rue & Byers, 2006, p. 349-350) "A survey by the Marlin Group found that 42% of employees have jobs where yelling and verbal abuse occur frequently."(Rue & Byers, 2006, p. 350)

In a research action model experiment conducted by the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs there is a significant demonstration of existing workplace stress as well as workplace aggression and that a survey created and conducted by the research team in a collaborative manner with employees significantly assisted the team in developing actions that helped offer employees resources for change and growth. Additionally, the research group, consisting of low level management, low level employees and outside academics created a grass roots system that they admit would have been better served if it had been shared with high-level management at an earlier phase in the action research project, as resistance was met by some groups in the several sites that collectively made up an employee group of 7,000. (Kowalski, Harmon, Yorks & Kowalski, 2003, p. 39)it is for this reason that it this researcher has decided to focus the majority of the intervention possibilities upon management, as the needed seat of change within organizations.

Causes of Workplace Stress

Kowalski, Harmon, Yorks & Kowalski created a list of the most frequent types of workplace aggression, causes of and symptoms of workplace stress.

10 Aggressive Behaviors

Treated in a rude and/or disrespectful manner

Not given the praise for which you felt entitled

Glared at in a hostile manner

Others delay action on matters… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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