As someone who studies job stress, I found this Workers’ Compensation Institute article about severe stress among Uber investigators interesting. According to the article, the main problem is severe over-work, which can happen in many jobs. Working hard by itself is not so much a problem, but excessive workload can lead to both physical and psychological health problems. We found that high workloads, just like other stressful conditions at work, such as being mistreated, were associated with physical health in this meta-analysis (the paper is available on Researchgate). It is perhaps not surprising that heavy workloads would be associated with backaches and eye strain, but people with heavy workloads also had more digestive problems and sleep problems.
Managing Employee Stress
Although it is impossible to totally eliminate stress from the job, there is a lot that can be done to help employees deal with it. Companies should recognize and manage the stress that comes with the job to minimize detrimental effects on employees, and ultimately the company itself. The article has some good tips for companies to help them manage the job stress of employees. Most managers will certainly recognize their first point that it is important to provide clear and efficient procedures and processes. One of the main functions of a manager is to organize work for subordinates. What can be overlooked is the article’s second and third points that managers should provide a supportive environment for workers. This is vital for jobs that are stressful, either because workloads are high or because the employee experiences other stressful things at work. For example, first responders such as paramedics must deal with potentially traumatic events, such as fatal automobile accidents. Of course, employees should not neglect their own role in coping with job stress, such as seeking out social support and finding more efficient ways to perform their jobs. This CRAMS whitepaper provides 8 tips for employees in dealing with job stress.
Creating a Supportive Work Environment
Creating a supportive environment includes making the workplace a safe place for employees to ask for help from their supervisors and coworkers. There are three things managers can do to make this happen.
- Invite employees to come to them for help with concerns and problems.
- Build trust with employees by discussing employee concerns without being judgmental or punitive.
- Provide assistance and support that enables employees to best handle the stresses of the job.
By doing these things the a manager helps maintain the well-being of employees, enabling them to best focus on doing their jobs well.