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Alfredo Elicerio

Managing Stress at
Work
Alfredo Elicerio
Management Theory II
Professor - C. Margo

Alfredo Elicerio
Management Theory II
C. Margo

Stress, we are all born with this condition. We humans are feel physical
and psychological "stress" reaction when facing a perceived threat, regardless it if is real or
not. Three out of every four American workers describe their work as stressful (Maxon,
1999)). In fact, occupational stress has been defined as a "global epidemic" by the United
Nations' International Labor Organization (Maxon, 1999) According to PayScale, major
Technology companies have the most stressed employees (Simoes, 2013). This was based on
how PayScale looked at job stress to determine where the companies ranked. They generated a
"stress score" based on employees' responses to the question "How stressful is your work
environment?" (Simoes, 2013) In some organizations having stress is normal, but having
employees with excessive stress can be a problem. This can interfere with productivity and
possibly also affect their physical and emotional health. Stress in the workplace happens because
of several reasons that include; meeting deadlines, major projects, managers or supervisors,
micromanagement, salary, fear of layoffs and most of all long work hours. As a leader you might
consider regulating the stress and pressure your employees feel. Whatever the root causes,
stressed workers tend to be fatigued, prone to mistakes and injuries, and are more likely to be
absent It if important not to feel powerless even though you might believe its a hard situation.
Leaders and organizations must find ways to manage stress in the workplace. This does not have
to come by making huge changes or completely modifying the way it does business but only do
as much as the organization can control. Organization should focus on managing stress in the
workplace by applying different approaches such as policies, addressing job roles and perhaps
offering wellness activities. More employers are recognizing that now is the time for action.
Workers who are stressed today can be disabled tomorrow. And, as society ages and elderly care

Alfredo Elicerio
Management Theory II
C. Margo

giving grows, stress is likely to grow as an issue, and along with it, inflated healthcare costs. The
encouraging news is that, with a dual strategy of organizational change and individual stress
management, businesses can be proactive and promote healthier, more productive employees and
reduce healthcare costs.
I have heard some of my co-workers say that they perform well under stress and that
when stress gets to them they tend to perform even better than no stress. I disagree because I
think they are confusing stress with just regular work pressure. I have been stressed at work
several times, but there has been a time when I felt completely depressed because of
the immense amount of stress. Maybe it depends on the individual and how they handle or hide
it. Having stress at the work place slowed me down and distracted me from completing projects.
Which in essence brought even more stress on me and my team.
As far back as 1908, researchers discovered that once stress reaches a mid to high level,
productivity drops off remarkably. And when productivity drops off, the bottom line suffers
(Yerkes, 2004). Most significantly, they incur healthcare costs twice as high than for other
employees. All tolled, the consequences of stress-related illnesses, from depression to heart
disease, costs businesses an estimated $200 to $300 billion a year in lost productivity (American
Institute of Stress, n.d.). Over-loaded schedules, under resourced departments are some of the
often cited and familiar to many types of stress causes (Coates, 2002). In an organization having
great employees that help the organization succeed, need to be retained for many years. It is
important to have them stress free or at least the minimum possible. In the case of Gilbert a
probation officer, we see that he was forced to retire early on medical grounds. Fourteen years
earlier than anticipated. Mr. Gilbert suffered from exhaustion, depression and coronary artery
disease following his exposure to avoidable stress from work overload, management failure, and

Alfredo Elicerio
Management Theory II
C. Margo

office and resource deficiencies. Importantly, Mr. Gilbert's employer had failed to take notice of
repeated warnings that Mr. Gilbert had given to his supervisors of the stress that he was under
(Coates, 2002). The result of this case was the employer forking over millions of dollars in a
court settlement. These are few of many cases that we see on how stress can affect an
organization and individual. Lawsuits are many results of this causing companies to lose millions
of dollars. Delnor Community Hospital, located near Chicago, found that stress management
strategies reduced employee turnover from 28 percent down to nearly 21 percent in two years,
saving the hospital nearly $800,000 (HeartMath, 2002)
As a future leader of an organization it is important to have policies or procedures that
deal with stress at the work place. Organization should have the responsibility on maintaining the
welfare of their employees by acting reasonably in the circumstances. There should be policies
and procedures in place to ensure that employees are clear about the processes to follow if they
wish to raise concerns about workplace stress. When employees raise concerns, managers should
investigate promptly and take remedial action where appropriate (Coates, 2002). One of the best
things organization can do to manage stress in the work place, should be having policies and
procedures that allow the employee to be stress free. The University of Surrey has a policy
statement and objectives for their employees that include: Areas of work related stress are
identified and assessed as appropriate, and relevant measures are introduced to control the risk to
health; Ways are identified to control and reduce the costs associated with work related stress, be
they financial, organizational or personal and most importantly Inform staff and managers of
their responsibilities in respect of the policy (Surrey, 2010). Policies like these are great because
it helps the employee stay motivated and focused on work, since they know the organization is
helping the employees. Reducing environmental stress may include re-figuring the workplace to

Alfredo Elicerio
Management Theory II
C. Margo

include natural lighting, improving air flow, providing quiet rooms for massage or yoga sessions
and reducing noise levels. When noise levels are reduced through the use of well-designed
ceilings and furniture or sound masking machines, employee focus is estimated to increase by 48
percent (American Society of Interior Designers, 2005).Another great idea for managing stress at
the work place is by encouraging exercises. Exercise and relaxation techniques can all help lower
the stress response in the body and improve well-being. One study shows that physical activity at
work can increase productivity. Providing two, half hour breaks twice a week resulted in
employees with healthier weight, lowered blood pressure, increased energy, better sleep
schedules and improved stress management skills, in just eight weeks, according to a study
conducted by the Baptist Health System in Mississippi (Beason). My current employer Mission
CISD promotes wellness activities that once completed you qualify for a prize. For example they
recently promoted a "Sleep-Well-Challenge", where employees were encouraged to sleep at least
8 hours a day. The host of the program Risk Management sent encouraging emails on a weekly
basis to those who signed up. At the end of the challenge the participants received a blanket with
MCISD logo. This is one example of what my organization does. There are multiple companies
that are focusing on stress management, these are some of the largest organization in the
country. Bank of America implemented a wellness program that featured educational materials
and Health Risk Assessments. As a result, healthcare costs decreased by 20 percent over a twoyear period with an ROI of more than 5:1 (Fries, 1993). This is a great example on how
organization can benefit from reducing stress, by investing on its employees they can help retain
them stress free. GSK implemented a Team Resilience program for its employees and
managers in 2001 to take corrective team actions against job stressors. The program included an
employee survey to determine the sources of stress, which identified late meetings, artificial

Alfredo Elicerio
Management Theory II
C. Margo

deadlines and other on-the-job stressors. By the end of 2008, participants reported an 80 percent
reduction in workplace pressures, a 25 percent drop in work/life conflict, and a 21 percent
increase in satisfaction with GSK as an employer (GlaxoSmithKline, 2009)
Having policies or procedures that deal with stress can help alleviate future issues and
lawsuits. It might be considered negligence if leaders start ignoring the issues that are happening
to their stressed out employees. Stress has been defined in different ways over the years. It used
to be conceived as the pressure from the environment, then later as strain within the person. It is
the psychological and physical state that results when the resources of the individual are not
sufficient to cope with the demands and pressures of the situation. Thus, stress is more likely in
some situations than others and in some individuals than others. Stress can undermine the
achievement of goals, both for individuals and for organizations (Michie, 2002).
Historically, the typical response from employers to stress at work has been to blame the victim
of stress, rather than its cause. Increasingly, it is being recognized that employers have a duty, in
many cases in law, to ensure that employees do not become ill. It is also in their long term
economic interests to prevent stress, as stress is likely to lead to high staff turnover, an increase
in sickness absence and early retirement, increased stress in those staff still at work, reduced
work performance and increased rate of accidents, and reduced client satisfaction. Good
employment practice includes assessing the risk of stress among employees (Michie, 2002).
Managing stress at work should be considered priority by organization leaders. I believe that
having stress free employees, could lead to great success. There could be more productivity from
employees who are less stressed. I know the feeling of being stressed at work and I know that I
am a lot more productive when I am free from stress. Because data and experience shows the
issues of stress, it is important to take responsibility of managing this issue.

Alfredo Elicerio
Management Theory II
C. Margo

Sources
Simoes, M. (2013, February 11). Don't Work For A Tech Company If
You Want A Stress-Free Job. Retrieved November 19, 2015,
from http://www.businessinsider.com/tech-companies-stressfulplaces-to-work-2013-1
Coates, J. (2002). Stress in the workplace. THE NEW ZEALAND
MEDICAL JOURNAL,115(1158), 1-1. Retrieved November 19, 2015
https://www.surrey.ac.uk/policies/management_of_work_related_stre
ss_policy.pdf
Maxon, R. (1999, July 2). Stress in the Workplace: A Costly Epidemic.
Retrieved November 20, 2015, from
http://www.fdu.edu/newspubs/magazine/99su/stress.html
Fries, J. F., et. al. Two-Year Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial of a
Health Promotion Program in a Retiree Population: The Bank of America
Study. American Journal of Medicine. 94.5 (1993): 455-462
HeartMath. Delnor Community Hospitals Story, (Press Release). April
2002. .
http://healthadvocate.com/downloads/webinars/stress-workplace.pdf
GlaxoSmithKline. Health and Wellbeing Programmes. 2008 Report. 24 Mar.
2009.
ASID American Society of Interior Designers. Sound Solutions: Increasing
Office Productivity Through Integrated Acoustic Planning and Noise Reduction
Strategies. Washington, D.C.: American Society of Interior Designers. 2005.
Beason, Sandy. Finding Time for Workplace Fitness. Get Fit Mississippi.
(n.d.). .
American Institute of Stress. Job Stress. Stress.org
Yerkes, Robert M. and John D. Dodson. The Relation of Strength of Stimulus
to Rapidity of Habit-Formation. Journal of Comparative Neurology and
Psychology. 18 (2004): 459-462

Alfredo Elicerio
Management Theory II
C. Margo