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This essay will present the argument that stress is a real factor in the working environment. This fact will be supported with peer reviewed journals and will be given due consideration under the theme of in what capacity stress is caused in a work environment and in what way can the environment be altered in order to generate less stress among the workers.
The nature of stress in the work place focuses on a person’s reaction to a specific event; in the restaurant business this event could be a myriad of factors: wrong food order, unpleasant customer experience, or lack of respect from fellow workers or employer. When an employee is faced with these variables during they course of a work day, tension mounts, and stress becomes higher, as Kello states, “When we perceive an event as a challenge or potential threat, a physical and psychological response is triggered by the autonomic nervous system. Whether the stressor is external (an oncoming car swerves into our lane) or internal (an anxiety-arousing thought), its onset abrupt (a sudden emergency) or gradual (a long-term unresolved problem), this automatic reaction is essentially the same” (Kello 2006; 21).
Time management is a way in which a person can set a diurnal schedule and keep their events and dates in order, and accomplished in a timely fashion. The daily schedule of any person who has multiple responsibilities is very tight. Choices of scheduling can be dominated by scholastics, family, personal time, and career responsibilities. With a limited number of hours in each week, a person must make due how one can. This paper will bring in my personal opinion about this subject and will also address how people can have a salubrious work and life schedule.
Without premeditation and a set schedule that should be adhered to every day procrastination can be the daunting factor in a time frame reference. Once the framework of a schedule is procured it must be adhered to not only every day but also every week. Thus a personal daily schedule can be obtained and followed, and a diurnal routine can be established. Time enough for everyday tasks must be included in such a routine.
A personal schedule must be similar each day so that a routine can become habit. Such a routine should consist of personal hygiene in the morning and before going to bed, regular meals and the entire days obligations which can include exercise, school, work or family events, not to forget personal time, and time for reflection.
A person’s heart rate and blood pressure increase in such situations and their breathing becomes increasingly short and shallow; the muscles tense and a person begins to sweat; this is a stress attack which is initiated with the fight or flight instinct in humans. Kello also mentions the general adaptation syndrome or GAS. If this system stays active for too long of a time or becomes active more each day then an employee may begin to suffer from “chronic hypertension, cardiovascular disease, gastro-intestinal disorder (such as ulcers) and migraine headaches” (Kello 2006; 21). Without relief from these stressors medical problems will begin or increase and thus stress is accumulative. One maxim that holds true today is that a person should leave their home life at home and their work problems at their job (Kello 2006; 21). However, stressors all act in the same way despite whether or not an employee does not choose to share their problems.
Due to procrastination being such a difficult thing to overcome, managing time wisely doesn’t only allow for work to be accomplished but also sets aside time for rumination, family, and this in turn lowers a person’s stress rate because they won’t feel as though they are spreading their selves thin and can rest at the end of the day because that day’s tasks were accomplished. People would rather spend their time away from work or academics leisurely and time management allows them to do this, as Torres (2005) states in In Good Time, “To get any system to succeed, you'll have to make an effort--whether it's organizing your incoming e-mails and voice mails or clearing out your inbox into to-do files. All that takes undivided attention, notes Clark. He suggests using a bulk of time in the beginning of your day (say from 9:15 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.) to organize and plan your schedule. Let everyone in your office know you're unavailable during that time. "After a while, when [people] see you're really efficient, they'll start respecting that [unavailable time window]."”
Everyone probably would like to spend less time at work; especially jobs which require overtime and work at home projects. Although in such jobs a person is rewarded monetarily, they are also compromising their personal time. Unrealistic job goals such as working eighty hours in one week doesn’t bode well for personal venues and family time. Thus a set scheduled time allowable for after hours work would greatly benefit a person. The goal in managing time is not only to permit for work but also to know when too much work is being done, as Torres states, “Divide your list into action items by order of importance and the time it'll take to complete each task, says Clark.
If you look at something in your e-mail inbox, ask yourself, "Can I complete this task in two minutes?" If so, do it, because it will take you longer than two minutes to file it. If not, take that time to file it and put it on your calendar.”
Kello suggests in his article that stress, however misfortunate its side effects may be also contributes to the overall performance of a worker. Kello gives the analogy of a team playing sports and how the team does not do well if a player is too hyped up or even if the player is too laid back. A person will perform better if they are achieving an adrenaline flow that contributes to them being ‘aroused’ in their work environment, “The goal of stress management is to have an optimal level of arousal, often labeled "eustress." The right amount of positive stress is essential if we're to focus, work safe, and do our best. This is in contrast to "distress" - the negative, harmful, excessive level of stress. We need enough arousal and activation to be engaged, mindful, fully in the game, performing at our safest and best. Balance, as usual, is the key” (Kello 2006; 21).
Mental duress is in exact correlation with the physiology of the worker (Davolt 2006; 1). It begs the question then what must be done in the working environment especially those filled with more stress than other such as restaurants what can be accomplished in order to propagate a salubrious work structure. One such existing example of less stress in the work place may be found in Salt Lake City, Utah where ARUP laboratories received the first award for clinical research done with regards to workers’ psyches with the American Psychological Association. This working environment provides its employees with, “…a free on-site primary care clinic, a wellness and fitness center and a meditation room. A healthy curriculum of free classes for employees includes such stress- busters as yoga, tai chi and strength training” (Davolt 2006; 1).
Another clear avenue by which a more salubrious and less stress filled work place may be considered is through communication. Through proper communication respect will also be included in the working environment and it is with these two variables that stress heightens; when someone gives instructions to another employee and someone the object of the conversation is lost in translation a plethora of stress comes from such a misunderstanding. This is especially true in the restaurant business. When a waiter/waitress orders a meal for the customer this transaction relies solely upon proper communication between the customer and the waiter/waitress and the waiter/waitress and the cook. If there is any type of misinterpretation within this diagram of tertiary communication then the order is wrong and the whole line of communication falls prey to angst, frustration and stress.
Having healthy relationships with fellow employees and with the boss is one way in which stress can be relieved in the work place, “Often, respect is manifested in egalitarian ways. Some companies abolish job titles to alleviate on-the-job class struggles. Another might rotate its premium "rock-star" parking spaces among employees high and low. At Carl Freeman Associates, a Washington, D.C., real estate developer, the bosses and the bossed break bread together four times a week in a 30-year-old company tradition known as ‘lunch together’” (Davolt 2006; 1).
Thus, the connection between mental health and the well being of employees is established. As an example of the correlation between a salubrious working environment and work production ARUP’s annual turnover rose 14% which subsequently placed it in the lower rung of quartile for stressful lab industry (Davolt 2006; 1). Communication skills are further emphasized in regards to relieving stress in order to better the company through Devaolt’s statement, “Milwaukee-based communications firm Versant, an APA winner in the small-business category, has seen fees charged per employee rise 31% since 2001, when the company consciously set out to build a sterling workplace culture” (Davolt 2006; 1).
It is within the capacity of the work place or the employer to set up a structured system by which the employee may do their job more easily. Chief among distractions for employees that add to stress is concern over childcare, eldercare, health care costs and other money related worries (Davolt 2006; 1), so, it rests with the employer to set up a program to help alleviate such stresses, “ ‘You need to provide employees with resources they need to manage their daily living problems and save them a lot of grief and keep them functional,’ says Joe Roche, executive director of INOVA EAP in Virginia” (Davolt 2006; 1).
Different people may have different reactions to stress but the physiological change that occurs in the body due to stress in the work place is proven through studies. Headaches, back pains, and other irritants are all products of stress. It is through the continual support of the employer that employees may become less stressed. In the area of communication and even in something as small as respect stress factors may be lessened in the work place.
The more a person is educated about their job the less stress there will be (Kello 2006; 21). Another way in which stress may be lessened is through a healthy and helpful relationship with co-workers, “Build rapport with supervisors and co-workers by organizing a once a week lunchtime volunteer program. Lead a food or clothing collection for needy employees or families outside your company” (Kello 2006; 21). In this way and in the above stated ways stress in the working environment does not have to lead to headaches, irritation in the bowel, or other unpleasant effects. If a person has just the right balance of stress, that is enough to be motivated but not enough to cause health problems, then the work place will be one filled with salubrious natured peopled.
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