What is job stress? Job stress can be defined as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities , resources, or needs of the worker. (NIOSH, 2014) Job stress is often confused with challenge, but clearly they are not the same. Challenge invigorates us physically and psychologically and motivates us go beyond previous limits and boundaries. When a challenge is conquered we feel a sense of accomplishment and are able to relax. Challenge is a healthy and important ingredient for a healthy and productive work environment. When people say that a little bit of stress is good for you, they are most likely referring to is having a position that provides a challenge.
Job stress has unfortunately become a common and very costly problem among working Americans. Studies report the following:
One fourth of employees view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives. -Northwestern National Life
Three-fourths of employees believe the worker has more on the job stress than a generation ago. -Princeton Survey Research Associates
Problems at work are more strongly associated with health complaints than are any other life stressor-more so than even financial problems or family problems. -St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company (proletar, 2014)
The following chart shows results from three surveys about what workers say about stress:
Most agree that job stress is a result of the interaction a worker has throughout their day and working conditions.
What can be done about job stress? Let’s look at two different approaches to dealing with job stress. The first thing a worker can do is engage in stress management activities. Most employers have an employee assistance program (EAP) to help employees cope with and manage difficult situations. EAP's provide counseling to employees and the program can be used to obtain counseling for dealing with a difficult work or life event. Many companies are also providing stress management programs for their employees to help recognize the symptoms of stress, the effects of stress and how to manage the stress. While these are all valuable resources, stress management programs have two