In any type of job, whether it is an office-based, field-based job or even home-based, every employee experiences occupational stress. One of the most experienced stresses in jobs is psychological stress such as occupational stress.
Occupational stress is usually from the pressures of one’s knowledge, alignment, skills or expectations on work. It further increases when employees do not feel supported by their colleagues or supervisors in their work, and feel that they do not have control over their work and its processes. They also think that the rewardsor compensations that they are receive are not measuring up to the workload they are receiving.
This kind of stress affects an employee greatly, since it hits their well-being, physical and mental health and their job performance. It has a domino effect for both employees and their employers, which may result in the company suffering badly in the end.
There are several stress types related to occupational stress, and they are listed below:
- Behavioral stress, such as absenteeism
- Physical stress, such as headaches
- Psychological, such as depressed mood
However, there are more job-related specific stress types that can be attached to occupational stress, which are listed below:
- Job workload
- Reduced autonomy
- Low levels of support
- Pay and recognition incommensurate with effort
- Work hours
- Occupational status
- Bullying at work
- Sexual harassment
- Workplace conflict
- Lack of work-life balance
- Employment status
These are mostly related to the mental well-being of an employee in their work. Once they are stressed out, they will show the following:
- Depression/Depressed mood
- Apathy, loss of interest in work
- Sleeping problems
- Trouble in concentrating
- Muscle tension
- Stomach problems
- Social withdrawal
- Loss of sex drive
- Excessive use of drugs and alcohol
There is no general one-for-all diagnosis for occupational stress; rather it is handled by various industrial and organizational psychologists in dealing with occupational stress experienced by various employees. Below are some steps psychologist will take:
- One-on-one counseling with the affected individual
- Prescribing medications, usually sleeping pills and antidepressants
There is no specific treatment for this kind of stress per se, however, there are many preventive steps that can be taken to avoid employees being stressed out in their work.
- Ensuring employee’s workload aligns with his/her working capabilities and resources.
- Provide jobs that can provide meaning, stimulation, and opportunities
- Defining roles and responsibilities clearly
- Monitoring workload distribution among employees
- Allowing employees to decide on their actions and opinions on their work
- Providing clear opportunities for career-development and future employment prospects
- Giving social opportunities and interaction in work
- Proper work schedules that match workload and worker’s capabilities
- Preventing workplace discrimination of race, religion, nationality, and gender
- Allowing of outsiders such as consultants for new opinions and idea for work
- Allowing participation from employees in leadership roles and activities
- Encouraging work-life balance
Most of the steps above have been taken by most companies around the world and are greatly helping in reducing occupational stress among its workers in their company’s workplace.