As you got up to ready yourself for work this morning did you have a sense of eagerness and anticipation, or did you feel reluctant to set out with the thought of not getting fulfilled? Sometimes if you are lucky you may just be waking up on the ‘right side of the bed’ simply because you have a assurance of a congenial atmosphere at work; conditions of service are equally attractive at the end of the day, not to talk of job security that is for a life time.
For some however, the idea of going to work as soon as the alarm goes off could be horrifying. The first thing that comes to your mind could be that for sure work is going to be another dreary moment, another day of conflicts with either the boss or colleagues. Worst of all, tools for work are not readily there to make work experience as fun as it should, or at the end of the month your take-home pay might just not be able to take you home as it were. The mere thought of these each morning is enough to make you feel fatigued early in the morning. Expert studies show that if these type of feeling persist for a long time it can really make going to work appear dreadful, and indeed stressful.
Signs of a stressful work life
Many factors are there with us to induce stress at work; Professor Niki Ellis is an Australian occupational physician, and has listed the followings as triggers to watch out for:
Extreme job demands: Having a workload that really does not make sense. For that reason you are likely to find yourself working unnecessarily long hours; also, you might not be getting enough break or rest throughout the day.
Having insufficient control over the work you do: Professor Ellis said, “Somebody who’s working in a more junior capacity may be asked to do things in a certain way, in a certain time, every day. Whereas more senior personnel, for example, will be able to determine when they are going to do their work and how they are going to do their work.”
No clearly defined job description: If you do not know exactly what your job demands are, and how your successes can be measured, work becomes frustrating. Professor Ellis adds, “If people have a lack of clarity around what their role is in an organisation, they don’t quite know what it is they are meant to be doing and how their contribution adds to the outputs of the organisation as a whole.”
No job security: If you work in a company or small outfit where job cuts are always playing up, a lot of stress could be generated, and these days there are more organisational changes than has been the case in the past.
Difficult relationships: By this, going to work can become scary. Evidently having a bad relationship with your boss is something we all are afraid of, but difficult relationships with colleagues and even customers can also make your work life very dreadful. “If there is conflict between their role and the role of other people, that can be very stressful,” Professor Ellis stated.
Harassment or prejudice: These are very unhealthy for our wellbeing and for productivity. And unfortunately, people frequently react by either resigning their appointment or enduring it instead of making official complaint.
Who is to be responsible in times of stress at the workplace?
Although your employer can really be of help in defining your role and having realistic prospects at work, Professor Ellis still feels the employer is responsible.
She said, “The model where we say ‘this is the responsibility of the employer’ is proving to be a little simplistic, and we need to move into a slightly different world where we have more of a shared responsibility.”
“Sometimes a worker brings a mental health problem into the workplace and other times we have to recognise that work can have an impact on mental health. So, poorly designed work can actually contribute to mental health problems.”
Kevin Jones is also a notable Australian workplace safety consultant, and he says regarding providing healthy working atmosphere for staff, we all are required to guarantee we are fit and healthy so we can carry out the tasks we are being paid to perform. He stressed that, “We need to be more conscious about our ownership of our own labour and of our own health and safety.”
Mr. Jones stated that he regularly comes across hard-working and motivated workers who were doing things detrimental to their own health in the workplace.
He stressed, “I once did an assessment of a pasta making factory and the sheets of lasagne were being packed at the end of a line into plastic trays … The folding of the lasagne sheets was manually done by two lovely ladies at the end of the line. One day I was assessing the workplace and they were saying ‘we are getting back issues and sore wrists’ from this activity.”
“Those same ladies were asked if they could do overtime, and they agreed.” Quite alright, it was their right to take the overtime according to Jones, but he stated, “ …what they were also doing was saying ‘well we are getting ill, sore and uncomfortable from this activity, but we’re willing to put up with it or make it worse for the potential of the overtime pay.”
You need a time out, enhance communication too
Jones gives us this simple piece of advice which will probably appeal to many of us on how to uphold reasonable wellbeing at work.
He says, “What you have is a legislative obligation not to put yourself at risk at work, or to create risk and ill health in others.”
“So if you go to work and you are grumpy, tired or angry, you might increase the risk of your workers and colleagues being injured.”
How to cope with stress
Stay in touch with family and friends out of work hours
Put your mind on the basics – exercise, diet and sleep
Each day create time to do something you derive pleasure from; for instance, start a hobby or activity you enjoy, meet friends or walk your dog, etc.
Take care of crazy or unconstructive thoughts, you may wish to write down these negative thoughts and confront them with optimistic or more sensible ones
You can search out and make use of stress-relief strategies
According to Jones, when, within reason, people decide to remove themselves from such surroundings, they are actually doing a favour to their colleagues.
“(If) you choose ‘I’m not going to go in today because I am not fit for work’, you are actually reducing the hazard that you might be presenting,” he said.