Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Coping Strategies for Managing Occupational Stress for Improved Worker Productivity

Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Coping Strategies for Managing Occupational Stress for Improved Worker Productivity

Article excerpt

Introduction

Occupation stress is receiving increasing concern as killer of workers and productivity deterrent. Many indices across the globe indicate that many worker die yearly due to stress related issues. Many do not even give the slightest thought to stress and yet it counts among the common sources of death (Olusakin, 2002). Stress is so daring as it attacks every category of worker, from those performing menial jobs right through to the Chief Executives. The world over, particularly in Nigeria for instance, stressful situations have become ubiquitous in academic, industrial, business, social and other occupation environments; each milieu generating its stressors (Olusakin, 2004). The global political upheaval, economic recession and attendant economic hardship, with its social destructions and psychosomatic travails that workers go through have increasingly aggravated stress (Denga, 2008). The degree of stress a worker experience depends on the individual's psychic durability. Stress affects the social, intellectual, physical, psychological and spiritual aspects of the worker. Everybody's life activities produce stressful situation and its cuts across all age groups. The way an individual or worker respond to these situations bring about stress and part of response to stress is physiological which also affects physical state.

Morgan, King, Weisz & Schopler (2006) conceived stress to be an internal state which can be caused by physical demands on the body or by environmental and social situations which are evaluated as potentially harmful, uncontrollable or exceeding resources for coping. Thus, stress can be seen as an inner and outer demand which may be physiology arousing and emotionally taxing and call for cognitive or behavioural responses. Similarly, Wills (2005), and Melgosa (2004) stated that stress is also a condition of being subject to external forces or pressures which can either be good (eustress) or bad (distress). Eustress represents moderate and low stress levels. Workers are frequently at high stress level. Workers who experience eustress will be able meet job demands and this may engender positive work life (e.g. satisfaction and positive moral values) while workers who experiences distress will not be able to fulfill job demands leading to dissatisfaction which affects individual's productivity, effectiveness, personal health and quality of work (Leka, Griffiths & Cox, 2004). While some occupational stress is normal, excessive stress can interfere with worker productivity and performance and impact physical and emotional health. It can even mean the difference between success and failure on the job.

Occupational stress is our responses to stimuli called stress inducer and they are the events that generally produce in a work place. They may be temporary or chronic, leading to negative health consequences or outcome changing a person's life (Olaitan, Talabi, Olumorin and Braimah, 2014). Occupational stress therefore denotes an excessive force (too much work) which by its action on worker causes him harm. This harm eventually causes fatigue. The worker's reaction in such a situation shows stress (irritability and inability to concentrate).

Adebola and Mukhtari (2008) posited that stress could be occupational, domestic and economic. Occupational stress is a term use to define stress that is related to workplace. It occurs when there is a discrepancy between the demands of the work and individual's ability to carry out and complete these demands (Mahmood, Nudrat and Zahoor, 2013).

Occupational stress occurs when the worker is destabilized because of not being able to put with the demands of job as expected by his or her employer. Any circumstance which threatens or is perceived to threaten the worker's wellbeing and coping abilities lead to occupational stress. Unfavourable working conditions, heavy workloads, organizational problems, paucity of resources, lack of support or autonomy, the size of the classroom or school, students general attitude to learning, some parental insults or assaults, delay in promotion, delayed and or unpaid salaries and allowances, record keeping are some of the characteristics of occupational stress. …

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