Fifty percent of workers have suffered some form of stress at work in a 12-month period. The statistics in healthcare professions were even higher.
Stress in the workplace is becoming a major concern for employers, managers and government agencies, meaning the Occupational Health and Safety legislations are requiring employers to practice a ‘duty of care’ by providing employees with safe working environments which also cover the psychological well-being of their staff.
One of the costs, for employers, of work place stress is absenteeism. Other negative effects are reductions in productivity, reduced profits, accidents, high rates of sickness, increased workers’ comp. claims and high staff turnover, requiring recruiting and training of replacement staff.
Now of course it is natural to have a certain amount of stress, this is needed to motivate people into action, but prolonged stress can have a huge impact on overall health which actually causes one to be in distress. Most people don’t realize it but over two- thirds of doctors visits are probably due to stress-related illnesses. Stress has been linked to headaches especially migraines, backaches, insomnia, 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 states of disease, for example cancer and heart disease.
Some stress factors that cross many professions are: increased workload, organizational changes, lack of recognition, high demands, lack of support from co-workers or management, personal and family issues, lack of training, long or difficult hours, insufficient staffing or resources, lack of input or control, and the one of the biggest stressors of all, lack of effective communication.
Some things workplaces can do to help lower stress levels are: educate employees to recognize the signs of stress because sometimes employees get so wrapped up in their jobs that they can’t even tell there is a problem till it is to late....