This article is directed both at employers and employees, in order both of them to be aware and able to identify/recognize the workplace stressors and start building towards a positive change with one goal in mind – a positive and motivating working environment for both parties involved. There are plenty of stressors that employees and employers are dealing with on a daily basis, either coming from within a person, or within the organization that are, of course, triggering unsatisfying behavior and are slowly bringing down the quality of the work and the organizational culture.
Some of the most important and the most usual ones are the following:
- LACK OF KNOWLEDGE – mostly happening at the workplace where a lot of things are thrown at an employee when times get tough and when they are expected to handle it, even though it’s not their expertise. Also, it happens with the new employees who are just coming through the door and while everyone is relaxed and thinking that the tasks are easy, one might feel different and overwhelmed as they have just started to adapt.
- LACK OF CLARITY – this happens in addition to the previous, when people are not fully aware of their role inside an organization. It can become increasingly problematic when the workload changes and people start to be given work that cannot be related to their job description. People start losing motivation and feeling defensive, while the desire to work is limited or non-existent.
- HEAVY WORKLOAD (OR LACK OF TIME) – adding to the previous, people can get overwhelmed with everyday tasks as they are sometimes unreasonably increasing due to the increase of work in general. Instead of adding more people to the team, the workload increases on the current team, often adding work that is not usually in their domain. During this process, unrealistic expectations emerge, originating from both employers and employees, which can lead to conflicts and escalate the situation negatively. Altogether it supports a lack of motivation and a defensive attitude towards work.
- LACK OF RECOGNITION (OR THE PRACTICE OF REWARDING WITH ADDITIONAL WORKLOAD) – again, adding to the previous, it will often happen that the employers will not recognize the work that has been done and will often require more effort, even though the efforts from the employees’ perspective is already maximized. There are instances that we have either personally experienced or known someone who has experienced them – rewarding exceptional work with additional responsibilities. There may be occasions when an employee demonstrates knowledge or skills beyond their job description, and it is mistakenly assumed that it becomes their new responsibility. However, the truth should be the opposite of that assumption.
- POOR RELATIONSHIPS – it could be with our superiors, colleagues, or even back at home which can sometimes affect the workplace. In the absence of a positive or healthy relationship, work cannot flourish for any of the parties involved. If there is no open communication and when none of the parties is actively looking for a solution, or a common ground, the quality of work will be brought to a low level. On the other hand, if employees are experiencing troubles in their private life, it is often considered that they should not bring that to work which is, of course, wrong. As they are spending most of their „awake time“ at work, it’s hard to leave out their private life and this should be, in a way, recognized and communicated, again, by both parties involved, so that the solution is identified and everyone can move on, while the work will not suffer.
- HARASSMENT – it’s happening more often than not in a lot of ways, either as aggressive behavior, discrimination in any form, mobbing, etc. It’s as toxic as it gets in the working environment and it can be done by an employer, any sort of managerial representative, or a fellow colleague or a group of colleagues. It represents the immediate call for action and should not be ignored on any level.
- CHANGE – changes are hard in our everyday life and it’s the same in the working environment. The presence of changes among colleagues whom one had a strong bond with, or even negative changes in management, can significantly affect stress levels, motivation, and the desire to work.
There are also other „signs“ that can show you that the quality of the work environment is in decline such as lack of autonomy, job insecurity, lack of opportunities to progress on the job, any sort of crisis (both personal or professional), lack of proper equipment or resources, etc. It’s also often the case some of these situations are combined which then heavily influences the quality of the working environment for an individual. Anyhow, all of these, especially combined, are a call for action and should not be ignored by either of the parties such as employees, employers, directors, managers, etc. This article also serves as a reminder to keep track of our own behavior, regardless of the role, to understand the consequences and to try and improve and/or prevent the situation from escalating.
- Work-related stress, Better Health Channel: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/work-related-stress
- Dealing With Seven Common Workplace Stressors, Ellevate: https://www.ellevatenetwork.com/articles/9636-dealing-with-seven-common-workplace-stressors
- Common Workplace Stressors and How to Handle Them, Government Еxecutive: https://www.govexec.com/management/2013/09/8-common-workplace-stressers-and-how-handle-them/70952/