In the workplace, stress can have some strong physical and mental effects on employees. To best understand stress, it is first important to define it. Stress is defined as “a feeling of tension that occurs when a person perceives that a given situation is about to exceed one’s ability to cope and consequently could endanger one’s well being” (Hitt, Miller & Colella, 2011). Stress on the job is usually the result of people feeling inadequate and unable to perform the given duties of a position at a high level. This could be the result of not having the tools necessary to complete the work or having an outside need that is unable to be met while performing duties. Today, we’ll examine different types of stress and the effects that stress can have on individuals and the workplace.
Stress can be narrowed down into two different types which are acute and chronic stress. Acute stress is the type associated with short term responses to stressors. For example, a corporate trainer may experience acute stress when he briefly loses control of a training classroom environment. Acute stress includes physical symptoms like excitement, sadness, worry, an energy boost, an increased metabolism, and a loss of one’s appetite (Hitt, Miller & Colella, 2011). Chronic stress relates to ongoing long-term stress. Employees that worked for companies during the recession that had to constantly deal with the threat of a layoff experienced chronic stress. Also, having a bad boss or being constantly micromanaged is considered chronic stress. Chronic stress is the more dangerous of the two as it creates an imbalance in the body’s energy supply called a stress response that is hard to restore (Hitt, Miller & Colella, 2011). This imbalance causes the body to react in an unhealthier, gradual fashion than acute stress including physical symptoms like depression, anxiety, panic attacks, higher susceptibility to disease and sickness, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a loss of one’s sex drive (Hitt, Miller & Colella, 2011). Health problems can begin to add up over time as chronic stress is experienced.
Next, stress can either be positive or negative. Eustress is positive stress which can be invigorating and create drive within an individual. This kind of stress causes an individual to strive toward meeting goals. A project manager may experience eustress as critical steps on a complicated project are completed successfully. Dystress is negative stress and is the one most people think of when thinking of stress in general (Hitt, Miller & Colella, 2011). Dystress can lead to the chronic stress symptoms like depression and anxiety.
Stress can be further examined by exploring the demand-control model and effort-reward model of workforce stress. The demand-control model analyzes the relationship between an individual’s workplace demands faced and control one has over meeting these demands. If the workforce demands are high, but control...