If you can’t avoid work stress, manage it


By: Abbas Sheikh Barre

Work stress management is a global challenge that does not segregate who is affected. Employees’ face this challenge from time to time. The onus is upon employers to pick out the challenge to sustain a healthy workforce.

All over the world, workplace stress is a serious employment issue that is likely to eat into an organisation’s profits, reduce efficiency and also cause the best staff to resign. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), everyone who has ever held a job at some point felt the pressure of work-related stress. The association points out that any job can have stressful elements. This affects even employees who love their jobs. “In short term, you may experience pressure to meet a deadline or fulfil a challenging obligation. But when work stress becomes chronic, it can be overwhelming and harmful to both physical and emotional health.” APA notes.

The association is also quick to point out that unfortunately, long term stress is a common occurrence in many work places. APA links these stress situations to; low salaries, excessive workloads, few opportunities for growth or advancement, work not being challenging or engaging, lack of social support, not having enough control over job-related decisions and conflicting demands or unclear performance expectations. Apparently, there are little or no studies done touching on Work Stress Management issues in Africa. Most of the studies are done in the UK, USA and parts of Asia.

An article published in Wharton University’s website says global competition, downsizing and constant state of being electronically tethered to the office are combining to create unprecedented level of stress. Wharton Professor, Stewart Friedman is quoted saying: “If you look at the span of the last 50 years, we know people are working more, that more of their waking attention is devoted to work and work-related decisions and it’s a challenge because ubiquity of technology has enabled 24/7 communication.” He says most of them did not grow up with “these tools” and that they are still adjusting to what it means to create meaningful boundaries between work and the other places in our life so that’s a new skill.”

 Stress at work is increasing, and the pressure is greater than ever, especially in the

The article quotes the co-author of a book, “Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Doing Your Best When It Matters Most, Hendrie Weisinger. The other book’s writer is J. P. Pawliw. On his part, Weisinger is of the opinion that contributing factors of stress at work include global competition, longevity, social media and materialistic values. “There has been a change from the manufacturing business culture, which emphasized production output, to a contributing factors include global competition, longevity, social media and materialistic values, he says. Plus, he adds, there has been “a change from a manufacturing business culture, which emphasized production output, to a business culture that has become more interpersonally oriented, thus making one’s success dependent on what others do and you cannot control others.”