There are many reasons why you might experience workplace stress. Perhaps the stress is intrinsic to your job. For example, your working conditions may be very poor, such as a run down building where the heating and ventilation are inadequate. Perhaps your job is in a bad neighborhood and you have to walk down a dark alley to work, which can be very frightening and stressful.
Maybe there are time pressures in your job. There are not enough hours in the day for you to actually do your job properly. Perhaps you have an excessive work load. There is just too much work to do in the time available. Maybe the pay is inadequate and you are struggling to make ends meet. You are working all the hours God sent but you still don’t have enough money to pay all your bills at the end of the week or month. Sound familiar? All this can be very stressful.
Or you might have a dangerous job, such as having to work at heights or a truck driver transporting dangerous loads, or a police officer on the front line who comes across dangerous situations. All this can be very stressful, because, in order to continue discharging your duties in such situations, you have to suppress the fight or flight response mechanism that is part our Human instinct.
Your Role in the Organisation
A problem with your role in the organisation can also be a source of stress. Your job might be ambiguous in that you never really know what you are supposed to be doing or to whom you are supposed to report. Or there might be some sort of role conflict. You may have to do two jobs that are not particularly compatible and you have to find some sort of middle ground and that middle ground does not appear to exist.
You may be responsible for the actions of others and when they don’t perform you are the one that gets it in the ear. Maybe there are divided loyalties where you work. Perhaps there is someone you are very friendly with but they are not doing a very good job, then you find yourself trying to balance your friendship with this person with your role within the organisation. That can be very difficult and stressful.
Or it could simply be that you feel under appreciated. Nobody really acknowledges the good job you do. You put in the hours, you do the work and there is always some kind of problem and that can be very, very stressful.
Another stress point within work places can be career development. Perhaps you have been over promoted. You have been promoted to a job that you didn’t really want, but you felt that you couldn’t say no. Perhaps you’ve not had the right amount of training and you simply find that you are having a hard time coping, which can be very stress full.
The same applies to under promotion. You may feel that you deserve more than you are currently getting…that you are stuck in rut and you feel that you should be moving on, but you are not able to. This also relates to job boredom. If you have been doing the same job day in, day out and you are just bored to death with it, then that can be very stressful too, especially if you don’t see away out.
Lack of job security can also be very stressful. If you have ever worked for a company that is in financial difficulty you will know exactly what I mean. You don’t know whether you will have a job tomorrow and you are fearful of how you are going to pay the bills if the company goes under, and so on.
Thwarted ambition can be another source of stress. You want to move on, but there is someone who is standing in your way. There is someone who is stopping you from fulfilling your potential and your ambition. This happens particularly in organisations that are very structured, where you really want to climb up the next rung of the ladder but there is someone who is making sure that you don’t, which can be very stressful indeed.
Relationships at Work
There could also be problems with relationships at work. You could be in conflict with your boss or subordinates or colleges etc…people that you need to get on with but you don’t. You might have a boss who is very demanding and finds fault with everything. You might have subordinates who don’t listen to you or colleges who are uncooperative and dump all the rotten jobs on you or that sort of thing.
Maybe you have difficulty delegating. Perhaps you are one of those people who feels that you need to do everything yourself and you can’t delegate and that can be very difficult, especially if you are new into a management role. Learning how to delegate and being responsible for the people that you delegate to can be very stressful, especially if you are not confident that they are going to do the job properly.
And then there is office politics. These can be very stressful, especially if you work in one of those big companies where there is a lot of gossip and back biting and you have to be careful about who you upset etc. That can be very stressful.
And finally the organisational structure might be difficult where you work. You might have little or no say in the decision making process for example. There might be budgetary constraints which mean you cannot have the equipment you need to do your job effectively, and you might not be able to afford to hire temporary staff because there simply isn’t the money. And there may be poor communications in the organisation,which often results in you finding out about something that affects you when it is too late to do something about it.
Reducing Stress in the Workplace
You see, all of this stress, all of this pressure, your brain wants to either fight it or flee from it and you can’t because you are have to be there all time and the stress just builds up. It may not be one particular thing, but a combination of factors that build up over time, that can cause all the stress.
So what should you do in when you find yourself in such stressful situations? Well the first thing to do is to make notes what is causing you to be stressed. Once you know what the problem is you are half way to finding a solution. Then you need to develop healthy responses. That might be some sort of relaxation technique. Or, say you are in an organisation and someone gives you a problem you could “kick the problem upstairs,” that is, pass it onto your superiors. So look for a healthy response rather than bottling it up inside.
You need to change what you can change and manage what you cannot. The best way to do that is to talk to your superiors. Talk to your boss or supervisor. Tell him or her what the problems are and perhaps together you can come up with a solution
But, at the end of the day, if all else fails and you are under too much pressure, then find another job. Now that might be easier said than done, and I know it can be hard to find another job, but bear in mind that good health is fundamental to living a fulfilling and meaningful life and if your health suffers because of stress, then the money is not worth it. You owe it to yourself to find some other way of living that isn’t quite so stressful.