Here are four common causes of stress in the workplace:
Job ambiguity – poorly defined jobs with no procedures in place and ambiguous goals can lead to stress as it leaves us unsure of what we’re supposed to do and why we’re doing it.
Favouritism and inequality – unfair treatment at work can be a major source of stress. Often promotion, raises and other perks, which should be given to recognise and reward good performance, are based on favouritism and seniority. This is demotivating and leaves us wondering why we bother.
Politics and power – some organisations are inherently stressful because in order to get ahead they expect us to play the game and many of us just don’t want to. These organisations are often run by political game players who overlook hard working employees for power hungry individuals, and exist because of the above.
Punitive and bullying managers – bullying in the workplace is a major stressor.
Managing stress in a healthy way involves changing the situation itself or the way you react to it. These changes known as the four A’s involve avoiding the stressful situation or altering it, adapting the way you think about it or just accepting it.
In extreme cases, and if finances permit, it may be possible to avoid the situation by changing jobs. If this is not feasible, it may be worthwhile talking to your boss or HR department to ask for appropriate training as well as a clearly outlined job description. Managers could help alleviate stress by conducting formal appraisals of job performance to reduce favouritism and workplace politics. Leadership with good communication, care for employees and clear goals, without punishment or bullying is also vital in making the organisation a great place to work.
If stress is a problem and you would like to book an initial session with one of our experienced practitioners, please contact your local First Psychology centre:
Edinburgh: 0131-668-1440, www.edinburghtherapy.co.uk
Glasgow: 0141-404-5411, www.glasgowpsychology.co.uk
Borders: 01896-800-400, www.borderspsychology.co.uk