25 July 2008

Stress at Work

The amount of time lost from work in Indonesia are not yet good recorded. In fact, there are lack of information regarding this manner. If we could assume that data from the United Kingdom working environment as reference, the total day lost are almost excess 300 million days perannum. At least 10 per cent of these days lost are attributed to what is officially referred to as ‘psychoneurosis’. To this figure of 30 million working days lost through psychoneurosis must be added further time lost through ‘psychosomatic’ complaints, namely physical illnesses that originated in, or have been exacerbated by, psychological and stress-related problems, and all uncertified absence.
Such losses represent a significant cost to all forms of organisation, and do not include the cost of low productivity and decreased efficiency due to low motivation, increases in alcohol and drug consumption, and time lost through ‘presenteeism’ ie being physically present at work, but mentally absent.

Stress is a term that is rarely clearly understood.
Generally, a stressful circumstance is one with which an individual is unable to cope successfully, or believes he cannot cope successfully, and which results in unwanted physical, mental or emotional responses. Stress implies some form of demand on the individual, it can be perceived as a threat, it can produce the classic ‘flight or fight’ response, it may create physiological
imbalance and can certainly affect individual performance. It is particularly concerned with how people cope with changes in their lives at work, at home and in other circumstances. It should be appreciated, however, that not all stress is bad. We all need a certain amount of stress (positive stress) in order to cope with life situations on an ongoing basis.

A stressor produces stress. There are many forms of stressor, namely:
1. Physical stressors – extremes of temperature, lighting, ventilation and humidity, noise and vibration.
2. Chemical stressors – dangerous chemicals: gases, vapours, dusts, etc.
3. Biological stressors – bacteria, viruses, etc.
4. Social or psychological stressor.

Most people associate stress with social or psychological stress which may be brought about, perhaps, by isolation, rejection, pressure and a general overloading of the body systems (distress). The demands on people at work vary substantially. Some demands may be related to the actual work that they do or the factors surrounding that work, including:
(a) psychological demands – machine-paced work, the quality of supervision, hazards, monotony of the task;
(b) physical demands – the effort required, as in manual handling activities, the potential for fatigue and exposure to hazardous substances;
(c) demands related to the construction of displays and controls on machinery – display screen equipment, fork-lift trucks, machinery;
(d) environmental demands – noise, pollution, poor lighting, etc;
(e) working hours – shift work, unsocial hours, night work, the frequency of breaks; and
(f) payment arrangements – piecework systems, compliance with quality standards.

So beware with your stress.

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