Introduction to Stress and the workplace
Various factors have been found to be associated with workplace stress including:
1. Lack of control: When workloads and patterns are set by others.
2. Environmental factors: Noise, temperature, pollution and overcrowding (not having enough personal space)
3. Workload: Work overload = too much or too difficult, work underload = not enough or too simple.
Marmot (1997) found that higher grade employees (those with more money, more responsibility etc) are less stressed than lower grade employees.
He also found that high grade employees less likely to suffer from CHD (coronary heart disease) related illness.
Marmot (1997) concluded that having some say in when, where how and how much work you do helps limit the effects of stress.
Johanssen (1978) investigated whether work stressors such as repetitiveness and machine-regulated pace of work increased the body's response to stress and stress related illness. The researcher identified a high riak group of 14 'finishers' in a swedish saw mill. their job was to finish of the wood at the lastr stage of processing. the work was machine based, isolated, very repatative yet highly skilled. The finishers' productivity also determinded the wage rates for the entire factory. The finishers were compared to a low risk group of cleaners who acted as the control. Levels of stress hormones were measured in the urine on work and rest days. Records were also kept of stress related illnesses and absenteeism. From this, Johanssen (1978) concluded that in order to reduce stress related illness and absenteeism of workers, managers need to find ways of reducing the workplace stressors. This can be done by introducing variety into the worker's day, and by allowing them to experience some kind of control over the pace of their work.
Jepson & Forrest (2006)
Jepson & Forrest (2006) investigated factors affecting stress in teachers. They found a positive relationship between Type A behaviour and stress. This suggests that perhaps elements of our personality (rather than the stressful work environment) can be a factor affecting how much stress we experience.