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Stress is a psychological and physiological response to events that upset our personal balance in some way. These events or demands are known as stressors. Workplace stress has a negative impact on the business as well as on the individual employee. The increase in job stress creates emotional, financial, and safety concerns for employers and managers
The World Health Organization labeled stress a "worldwide epidemic." Today, workplace stress is estimated to cost companies more than $300 billion a year in poor performance, absenteeism and health costs.
FACTORS THAT LEAD TO JOB STRESS
Specific work factors
Tedious or meaningless tasks.
Long hours and low pay.
Infrequent rest breaks.
Unreasonable performance demands
Noise and overcrowding.
Poor air quality.
Health and safety risks (heavy equipment, toxic chemicals).
Unclear responsibilities or expectations.
Conflicting job demands.
Lack of autonomy or participation in decision-making.
Inefficient communication patterns.
Lack of family-friendly policies
Lack of Job Security
Fear of layoff.
Frequent personnel turnover.
Lack of preparation for technological changes.
Poor chances for advancement or promotion.
Tensions brought about by greater workplace diversity.
Distant, uncommunicative supervisors.
Poor performance from subordinates.
Office politics, competition, and other conflicts among staff.
Bullying or harassment.
Problems caused by excessive time away from family.
SOURCES OF OCCUPATIONAL OR JOB STRESS
1.) Job related stressors
Increased level of competitions
Changes in the production and products
New forms of organization and product development
Drive for greater cost -effectiveness networks.
General public concerns for the environment
Changes with in the organization
Organizational culture, climate
Mergers, acquisitions and similar changes of the company ownership
Work force diversity
Pressure to work for long hours
Conflicting job demands
Unclear job expectations
Pressure of responsibility
Lack of resources to perform job
Lack of information
Lack of collaboration
Relationships with subordinates
Poor fit between abilities and skills
2.) Individual - Related Stressors.
Individual life circumstances
WORKER CHARACTERISTICS THAT CAN CAUSE JOB STRESS
1. A Need to be in Control
The worker feels a need to be in control at all times.
The worker views lack of control as a sign of weakness.
The worker has difficulty delegating assignments to others.
The worker avoids showing signs of weakness or nervousness.
2. A lack or Perceived lack of Competence
The worker feels his or her work is inferior compared to others.
The worker feels he or she makes poor judgments.
The worker feels a lack of common sense.
The worker feels doubts about his or her competence and ability to do the job.
3. A Desire to Please People
The worker relies on favorable opinions and input from others as a basis for building self-esteem.
The worker fears he or she may disappoint others
The worker cares more about others' needs than his or her own.
The worker avoids communications and actions that would displease others.
4. A Need to be Perfect (Perfection)
The worker feels under pressure to achieve.
The worker is highly self-critical.
The worker feels a job well done could have been done even better.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF STRESS
Intellectual Symptoms (How stress can affect the Mind)
Difficulty making decisions.
Inability to concentrate.
Seeing only the negative.
Repetitive or racing thoughts.
Loss of objectivity.
Desire to escape or run away
Emotional Symptoms :( How stress can make us feel)
Moody and hypersensitive.
Restlessness and anxiety.
Anger and resentment.
Easily irritated and "on edge".
Sense of being overwhelmed.
Lack of confidence.
Physical Symptoms: (How stress can affect the Body)
Muscle tension and pain.
Chest pain, irregular heartbeat.
High blood pressure.
Weight gain or loss.
Asthma or shortness of breath.
Behavioral Symptoms: (How stress can affect the Behavior)
Sleeping too much or too little.
Isolating self from others.
Neglecting the responsibilities.
Increasing alcohol and drug use.
Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing).
Teeth grinding or jaw clenching.
Overdoing activities such as exercising or shopping.
Losing the temper.
Overreacting to unexpected problems.
LONG TERM EFFECTS OF STRESS
Recent research suggests that anywhere from two-thirds of illness is stress-related. Health Problems Linked to long term Stress:
CONSEQUENCES OF OCCUPATIONAL STRESS
It can be grouped into those on:
1. Individual level.
2. Organizational level.
On the individual level
There are three main subgroups of strains:
1. Unwanted Feelings and Behaviors
2. Physiological Diseases (Poor Physical Health)
3. Psychological Diseases (Poor Emotional (Mental) Health)
1. Unwanted Feelings and Behaviors
Low employee morale.
Less organizational commitment,.
Lowered overall quality of work life.
Intention to leave the job,
Lower productivity, decreased quantity and quality of work.
Inability to make sound decisions.
Physiological Diseases (Poor Physical Health)
Problems such as increased blood pressure and pulse rate, cardiovascular diseases, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, insomnia, headaches, infections, skin problems, injuries and fatigue.
Psychological Diseases (Poor Emotional (Mental) Health) -
Psychological distress, depression, anxiousness.
Boredom, lose of self-confidence and self-esteem.
Lose of dissatisfaction with job and live, losing of contact with reality and emotional fatigue.
On the Organization level
Consequences of Occupational or Job Stress can be grouped into two Major subgroups.
1. Organizational factors
2. Organizational Costs.
1. Organizational factors -
Such as discontent and poor morale among the workforce.
Performance/productivity losses, low quality products and services.
Poorer relationships with clients, images and reputation, missed opportunities.
Disruption to production, high accident and mistakes rates, high labor turnover.
Loss of valuable staff, increase sick-leave, permanent vacancies, premature retirement.
Diminished cooperation, poor internal communications, more internal conflicts, and dysfunctional workplace climate.
2. Organizational Costs:-
Such as cost of reduced performance, productivity (lack of added value to product and /or service),
High replacement costs in connection with labor turnover (increase in recruitment, training and retraining costs),
Increases sick pay, increased health-care costs and disability payments,
Higher grievance and litigation/compensation costs, and costs of equipment damage.
EXAMPLE OF DELL.
Dell Inc. is an American multinational computer technology corporation having its headquarters in Round Rock, Texas, and United States that develops, sells and supports computers and related products and services. Bearing the name of its founder, Michael Dell, the company is one of the largest technological corporations in the world, employing more than 103,300 people worldwide. Dell is listed at number 41 in the Fortune 500 list. It is the third largest PC vendor in the world after HP and Lenovo.
Dell has grown by both increasing its customer base and through acquisitions. The company is well known for its innovations in supply chain management and electronic commerce.
Fortune Magazine listed Dell as the sixth largest company in Texas by total revenue. It is the second largest non-oil company in Texas - behind AT&T - and the largest company in the Greater Austin area.
STRESS MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES OF DELL INC.
Managing an over worked and stressed human resource have become a challenging and ever difficult task for today's managers. With a view to utilize the available human resource thus minimizing costs and maximizing profits, today both managers and their subordinates have to cope up with work related stress. This stress if it goes to certain extent without being controlled can affect the person's family/social life, health, performance etc and changes the employee's whole attitude towards work- frustrating, demotivating and frightening him/her which in the long run damages the organization and the employee both.
Employee "Well-being" is defined as the positive interaction of physical, psychological and social factors that promotes creativity, productivity and health of people. At Dell Inc., Employee well-being is considered as a strategic value & fundamental component in the company's success
Dell has a long tradition of excellence in employee well-being and product safety. The importance it place in these efforts demonstrates their commitment to employees, customers and business partners. Each of them, manager and employee alike, shares a personal responsibility for the following objectives:
Provide a safe and healthful workplace for their employees.
Provide products that are safe for use by their customers and employees.
Meet applicable legal requirements and voluntary practices
Incorporate employee well-being and product safety requirements in business strategies, plans, reviews, and product offerings.
Implement, measure, and continually strive to improve well-being processes for preventing work-related accidents, injuries and illnesses.
Foster employee involvement and provide appropriate well-being education to employees to enhance their ability to work safely and productively.
Perform audits and self-assessments of our conformance with employee well-being and product safety requirements with results reported to senior executive management.
Investigate and address work-related and product safety incidents.
Provide appropriate resources to fulfill these objectives.
BASIC STRESS MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES ADOPTED BY DELL INC.
Building design aspects:
Site selection process is done after mandatory Health & Safety review
Review of layout
Industrial hygiene parameters are also considered
Early warning system - Fire alarm system
Fire protection system - Extinguishers, Sprinkler & Hydrant
Workplace illumination/emergency lighting
Stairwells, fire/smoke stop hardware
Operational parameters & Maintenance programs
Working at heights
Physical Work Environment - Workplace Climate
Dell's strategy is to create a work environment that:
positively differentiates, enhances & encourages employees productivity, effectiveness and creativity
Improves employee perception of the location where they are working.
Helps prevent injury and illness.
Key Focus Areas of this initiative and their guiding principles:
Indoor Air Quality - compliance to standards.
General Housekeeping - ensure systems and practices are in place.
Restroom Sanitation - design, provide and maintain.
Workplace Design - apply e-place principle.
Food Services - Proper facility and maintain health and hygiene standards.
Facility Accessibility - to address challenges of physically handicapped.
Life safety - code of safety to Life and Fire in building & structure.
Food & Water safety
Quarterly cafeteria and kitchen audits
Management of escalations
Incident reporting process
New vendor approval process
Initiatives for improvement
Medical emergency response
First aid training
Full day training conducted by experts on emergency medicine
Dedicated ambulances placed at strategic locations
Ambulances equipped with life support medications/equipments
Women Safety / Security
Safety of women is highly considered in Dell. The cab driver being sent at female's pick up and drop point are required to undergo various security checks, police verification and other internal checks.
STRATEGIES ADOPTED BY DELL INC.
Lighting - Bright light is maintained within an organization with carefully chosen wall colors.
In-house cafeteria and gym
Food festivals-On special days, food festivals are organized in cafeteria serving food catering to the needs of a particular occasion.
TV's placed in corridors, adequate number of intervals are provided to employees for taking rest
Food exchange-employees are encouraged to bring home made food. These foods are exchanged-this technique help bridge cultural differences as employees get to taste may be Bengali, Marathi, Andhra or Punjabi food. Small rewards are offered to the best recipe.
Quarterly tours are organized. If the place is far or exceeds budget, Dell pays part expense.
Gaming stations, cricket pitch (net practice) and table tennis playing provisions are also maintained.
Dell also undertakes social services like sponsoring education to some poor children. These children are brought to Dell office and the employee interacts with them along with an in-house cafeteria party.
For newly joined employees mentoring (buddy) is done relieving the new appointees stress and helping him/her settle down.
Quarterly good performers are rewarded along with a party (recently held in Taj Deccan) with theme based programme like Hollywood night. Best dressed individuals are also rewarded.
VARIOUS CSR INITIATIVES ARE ALSO UNDERTAKEN BY DELL
Dell help their customers minimize their environmental impact by delivering energy-efficient products and easy, responsible electronics recycling.
Design for energy efficiency
Dell's carbon footprint analyses show that, in many cases, the greatest environmental impact within a product's life cycle comes from the energy it uses in the hands of a customer, so it concentrates their greatest efforts on increasing their products' energy efficiency.
Design for Recyclability:
Dell products are easily recyclable. It starts with smart materials choices and design. For example, it minimizes the amount of glue and adhesives we use, preferring instead to use snaps that recyclers can take apart more easily.
Look for an eco-label to make smarter product choices:
Dell uses the labels of ENERGY STAR, EPEAT and the 80 PLUS® Program.
Smarter material choices:
Dell is continuously researching alternative, recycled and recyclable materials to integrate into their products. At the same time, they are working to reduce or eliminate any substances that could have negative impacts on the environment or human health.
Carbon footprint analysis:
To help understand and minimize environmental impact, carbon footprint of various Dell products is calculated.
Design for the Environment
Dell's Design for the Environment program ensures environmental impact is considered throughout a product's lifecycle.
Dell actively seeks ways to reduce or eliminate the use of mercury in our products.
Our thoughts on climate change
Dell believes that climate change needs to be addressed through greenhouse gas reduction programs that build a low-carbon society, create new jobs and economic opportunity, and drive energy efficiency.
Striving toward zero waste
Reducing waste is a key factor in Dell's responsible operations strategy. We continue to search for new ways to reuse or recycle our waste for a cleaner, more economical business.
Energy conservation and green electricity:
Dell has reduced the amount of energy we've used and increased renewable power purchases.
Dell promote the responsible use of plant- based resources and work to restore forests directly as part of our commitment to mitigating climate change and protecting the planet.
Customers count on Dell to deliver high-quality, high-value products and services. Earning ISO certifications helps DELL meet those expectations.
There are 72 million children worldwide that are not in school and lack access to the facilities, teachers and the technology they need for a better education. Dell believes that access to education and technology is not a luxury, but a necessity. That's why we work directly with communities and nonprofit organizations around the world to close the learning gap and give young people the power to discover better possibilities.
Children's cancer care:
Dell is helping to accelerate treatments for pediatric cancer and providing care and support for families who are fighting this deadly disease.
In conjunction with The University of Texas, Dell invites college students around the world to enter their transformative ideas for solving social problems through the Dell Social Innovation Challenge competition and online community.
In times of crisis, we work with emergency response organizations to provide on-the-ground cleanup, technology solutions and employee donations that are matched by Dell.
Customers and Diversity
Dell is committed to building a diverse environment that is reflective of a diverse global marketplace. It is striving to ensure they engage with key marketplace segments to advance their global diversity and inclusion activities.
Dell believes that a fully engaged workforce is a competitive advantage. It's about helping Dell succeed with a global workforce that is highly talented, committed and reflective of our global customers.