An insight into the Lethal Work related Stress
Three hand-written letters labeled as suicide notes were detained by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC-Philippines). The victim was the Director of the Regulatory Commission, Francisco ‘Jun’ villa Jr. who passed away on the 17th of November, 2016. The reason for his suicide was because he was being pressurized at work. The police station of Aruppototta had registered a case where the commissioner of the Aruppototta’s municipality in Tamil Nadu committed suicide at his camp office. According to the sources, the complaint registered at the police station was of work-related stress in recent past.

One of the most common reasons for suicide in this globalized world is due to Work related stress.

According to Douglas (1980), stress is defined as any action or situation which has a major effect on the physical and mental health of a person. Stress at the workplace is due to conflict between job demands and the deadline to meet these demands. We live in a highly complex world where the race is to be on the top. This race in order to survive and succeed leads to stress and when this stress become heavy-handed, then this may lead to severe health consequences.

According to ASSOCHAM’s survey on corporate employees, it was stated that around 42.5% of employees in the corporate world are suffering from depression. As mentioned earlier, the common reason for stress are the demands of the job, the deadline to complete what the job demands and the condition in which employees work. After a thorough study by a team of researchers, which includes professors from prominent universities, they concluded that the main reason for stress may be classified as follows:
  • Wages and salaries - compared with public sector corporate workers are usually less paid when taking more workload. The lack of job security, lack of initiatives taken offered by the employers to provide health insurance and working conditions are the reasons that can contribute to stress on the job.
  • Management style - with the fast growing use of technology, high demand by consumers, expanding markets are the biggest challenges being faced by workers in decision-making, poor communication in the organization and lack of friendly policies, which would all indicate a need to work on more effective management style. All this leads to job stress. Nearly about 34% workforce in India are dissatisfied with the management system because they feel their work is not being recognized.
  • Interpersonal relationship - lack of communication among people in the company, abridgment of support or help from fellow workers and supervisors can be a real origin of stress.
  • Work roles - conflicts or uncertain job expectations, too many responsibilities, and too many hats to wear, all at the same time are just some of the cases where employees find themselves paralyzed, leading to a no win and ultimate stressful situation during the course of their work. Besides all of the above-mentioned points, environment condition, social changes, career concerns are also the main contributors to stress among the employees.
Effect on the Employer
A company may face a variety of negative effects because of stress present among workers. There can be an increase in instances where some employees might become argumentative and easily irritated. More situations may be encountered in the organization which may then lead to the general decline in the overall performance. Stress can have a harmful effect on the employees’ health, for e.g. feeling trapped at the workplace may increase the risk of “heart diseases”, which is leading cause of death in the US. Thus the frequent absenteeism due to sickness or workload is also among the negative effects of stress on employees. So, how does the performance of an individual get affected when he encounters stress due to workload?

In this Figure, both A&B represents high-performing persons. However, A is working within the full optimum zone, while B is working in the high-risk zone, which leads to the development of severe behavioral problems. Working at one’s highest performance (a top point on the graph) is acceptable for short term, but the risk of remaining at the top for a long term leads to added pressure and can lead the person to collapse due to overworking. Once a person has moved into the overworked area, the performance of the person drastically decreases (IPIECA, 2006). Without intervention, this can result in health problems.

Legal issues
In the US, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are the two main institutions for workers’ rights .OSHA is responsible for tackling problems related to safety and health of workers and implementing it. NIOSH sees the matter of
safe condition that must be provided at the working place.

In India, the laws which protect the workers are usually very stringent and are heavily regulated
The Factories act of 1948 was enacted for the workers’ safety, health and welfare of the workers’. The Union cabinet of India has passed the national policy on safety, health, and environment at the workplace in 2009.
Taking all these legal issues in consideration, an employer has to provide a safe and healthy workplace for the employees, ignorance of which may cause serious damage to the company and also to its reputation. From the worker's point of view, they can have compensation if employers are indulging in any malpractice.
Approaches to tackling stress
“The cheapest and the most effective way to eradicate stress is by simply listening to staff,” says Mark McDonald, CEO, and Co-Founder of Appster. “It doesn’t cost much, except for a little time, but the effect on morale is really high”, he continues. Companies such as Google, Apple, Infosys, Nokia and many more are able to remain functional and progressive at a bigger scale than most companies. They have achieved this through several methods.

Large firms know their workers’ potential and how to utilize their manpower optimally. They also actively have programs in place to prevent stress in the workplace. The main question that arises is, how do the employers effectively eliminate stress?

There are several ways to lessen or eradicate stress altogether:

In order to reduce stress at workplace, the managers should lead as an example. Managers should not show their anger, anxiety, and fear in front of their colleagues, as this may put their subordinates in an environment where they are prone to feel negative emotions

This may include fun activities, rewards to workers, gym etc. so that workers don’t have to think just about the work only. From a study, it was stated that a worker’s performance increases if the worker is provided with 15-30 min of a nap in the middle of the work. Japan has adopted this scheme, allowing employees to take naps during the day, and uses it as an indicator of progress.

This is one of the economical ways of reducing the stress level in the workplaces. Communicating makes workers feel that they are in a friendly environment. This way, workers might share their own concerns and ideas which may benefit the company.

These are just some of the ways an employer can make a stressful workplace a happy environment. Work related Stress now has a significant role in our life; from students to aged people, everyone is somehow affected by it. Globalization has made our life pretty easy and comfortable, however it has come with more complexities at the workplace than ever, leading to stress. It is im imperative that employers make it a priority to keep their workplace a stress-free zone or risk losing their workers.
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