Effects of Stress in the Workplace



A study by the Rand Corporation, the Harvard Medical School, and the University of California, Los Angeles shows that nearly 1 in 5 workers face a hostile or threatening environment at work, which could be driving more people to seek mental health treatment.

A New York City psychiatrist, Dr. Alan Manevitz, who works as a consultant for a number of large corporations, said that he sees this every day in his practice.  He explains, “I have patients who sleep with their phone and feel an increased pressure to stay in contact outside of business hours and even on vacation by constantly checking their emails.  The toll on the public health is high, and people who already are prone to things like anxiety and depression are impacted even more severely.”

Nearly three quarters of workers surveyed said they spend at least one fourth of their job doing “intense or repetitive physical labor, and there was an emphasis on the inflexibility of jobs, lack of opportunity for advancement, and the disparity of poor treatment in the workplace.  Only 38% of those surveyed say their jobs offer good prospects for advancement, and the study showed that the older workers become, the more optimistic they are.  Half said they work on their own time to meet the demands of their job.

Dr. Manevitz also said that the desire for workplace satisfaction and pressure caused by it causes a vicious cycle.  “At the end of the day people give a lot of thought to their quality of life, but they do still need a job.  It becomes a cycle of pressure, lack of sleep, lack of relaxation, and can cause people to slip into dark holes little by little without even recognizing it in themselves.”  This cycle leads to workers burning out both mentally and physically.  “What we end up with is demoralized workers who are usually very productive.”

The good news about the workplaces is that 80% of workers surveyed say they get to help solve problems and are allowed to try out their own ideas.  58% say they have supportive bosses, and 56% say they have good friends at work, all of which leads to better satisfaction in the workplace.

This story is submitted by William Cash, Safety, Health and Environmental Specialist at the PCS Phosphate Company, Inc. in Joplin, MO. 64801.