Work Stress Essay

1872 words - 7 pages

Work Stress is Costly and Creates High Employee Turnover Introduction Stress at work has become a serious health and economic burden in the U.S. Today's workers are concerned about losing their job to downsizing, layoffs, mergers, and bankruptcies that have become common in the U.S. in recent years. Workers now have to work harder and are doing unfamiliar tasks. Adding to the pressures are new bosses, changing technology, electric surveillance equipment and a changing work force. Organizational managers are interested in maintaining a lower level of job stress for good reasons: high levels of stress can result in low productivity, increased absenteeism and turnover (Carrell, Elbert, Hatfield, 2000). Balancing a heavy workload with family responsibilities often results in high stress levels, poor coping, and insufficient time and energy for interacting with the important people in our lives (Farren 1999).Job Market The unemployment rate is the lowest in 30 years, 4.5% or less, since April 1998. The unemployment rate is projected to continue to be low through the next 10 years. People are changing jobs in record numbers; a fact that is refueling the highest turnover rate in 20 years. The typical American worker holds nearly 9 different jobs before the age of 32. It is estimated that women will be 47.5% of the work force by 2008, up from 1998 levels of 46.3%. Men in the work force will decrease from 53.7% in 1998 to 52.5% by the year 2008 (BLS 2001).Information about Stress The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is the federal agency responsible for conducting research on psychological aspects of occupational safety and health, including stress at work. NIOSH defines job stress as "Harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker". Stress is hard to address since people perceive and handle stress differently; items stressful to one person my not be a problem for someone else. "The distress that a person may feel is not a result of what actually exists objectively in the job. It is a result of how the person perceives what is happening" (Sieber, 1996). While a certain amount of stress is necessary for human functioning, excessive stress is proven to be harmful to your health (Cornell, 2001). The NIOSH model of Job Stress illustrates that exposure to stressful working conditions can have a direct influence on workers safety and health (NIOSH 2001).Causes of Stress Causes of stress in the work place come in many forms. Excessive workload demands, conflicting expectations, the people you work with, and poor working conditions are some of the reasons for increased stress.Many of today's workers are given additional responsibilities, added work, and increased production quotas as companies continue to downsize and layoff workers. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that the U.S. is on a record pace for lay-offs in...

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