Shipra Dawar, Founder, ePsyclinic.com shares the key workplace stressors affecting emotional health of both the genders, particularly in the light of key socioeconomic changes that have redefined the priorities and roles of both women and men in India. She emphasizes on the need to identify stressors during the preventable stage through appropriate counselling and care to ensure well-being
When women were newly wedded during the 70s, 80s or maybe early 90s, the only role expected of them was to look after the family and rear up the children. The men during this period could spend their lives doing a 9 to 5 job, which earned them the pay packet needed to feed the family, as well as provide for good education.
Stress was minimal and unidirectional. The same, however, cannot be said for the world of 2016. Women today are competent careerists yet expected to be an ideal wife at home, as well as the omniscient mother. Men today are not only the bread earners, but are also expected to be the complementary partner in running the family, as well as looking after the children. Stress today is multi directional, and much, much more in intensity.
Though stress levels might differ with the role played, one common point of stress faced by both the genders is the workplace stress. Gone are the laidback days of relaxed jobs, todayâs cutthroat corporate world does not allow anyone a minute to laze off.
We have few opportunities and there are a minimum of 1000âs of us slogging to make the cut. But it is not only the competition that creates stress at the workplace. While excessive workload with unrealistic deadline makesÂ people feel rushed and overwhelmed, poor content and load of work further make people feel that their skills are being undermined.
Stress has been defined in different ways over the years. Originally, it was conceived of as pressure from the environment, then as strain within the person. The generally accepted definition today is one of interaction between the situation and the individual. 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 forÂ organisations. The same is illustrated in the following diagram.
Today stress is stemming from the following key areas within the workplace:
- Unmanageable and insufficient workload
- Unrealistic expectations and deadlines, from both the employer and concerned employees
- Technology overload
- Lack of time and control over aspects of the job
- Lack of involvement in decision making
- Employeesâ suggestions and feedback being taken into account
- Lack of influence of performance targets
Work Relationships â Many jobs demand regular contact with other people at work. Poor or unsupportive relationships with colleagues and/or supervisors can be a potential source of pressure. In addition, pressure can occur if individuals feel isolated or unfairly treated. This can be a result of:
- Aggressive management styles â manager always keen on finding faults
- Lack of understanding andÂ leadership
- Lack of support and isolation at work
- Insufficient peer support
- Poor relationship with peers â bullying and harassment
- Other taking credit for personal achievements
- Job insecurity, i.e. lack of job permanence, fixed-term contracts, etc.
- Future job chance
- Fear of skill redundancy
- Financial remuneration associated with the job. While this might not be a sole factor, but it can influence the stress when coupled with other dis-satisfactory aspects.
And, stress is also arising at the point of intersection between the personal and the professional: Work-Life Balance â The demands of work have the potential to spill over and affect personal and home life and so put a strain on relationships outside work, for example:
- Long & unsocial hours â additional work from home hours can be detrimental to personal and family relationships
- Work interfering with home and personal life
- Excessive travel times
Preventive measures for stress primarily include understanding the signs and symptoms and nipping it in the bud. Training helps to prevent stress through:
- Becoming aware of the stressor and signs of stress.
- Stress usually builds up gradually. Thus, using the awareness of the signs in interrupting the behaviour patterns helps to break the formation.
- Analysing the situation and keeping an active plan handy to minimise the stressor, as well as the stress reaction.
- Learning skills of active coping and relaxation techniques create a lifestyle that works as a buffer against stress.
- Practising the above in low-stress situations to maximise success and boost self-confidence and motivation to follow through.
Stress management, therefore, needs 3 stages:
- Primary intervention or Prevention looks at the issue at source in order to prevent it from occurring.
- Secondary intervention or Management includes training for the job in aspects of health and safety, support in providing adequate management of the social and technical aspect employeesâ working life. A successfulÂ management includes both prevention and management of stress for the employees.
- Tertiary invention or Minimisation deals with the provision of counselling and employee assistance programmes and outsourced social services to assist employees who feel that need for extra support.
|Key Features â Stress|
â¢ After-effects of interaction between the situation & individual
â¢ High Intensity
â¢ Different stress for different roles
We at ePsyclinic face both the challenges. As Indiaâs trusted online emotional and mental health clinic, we come across people who happen to be stressed beyond their personal coping abilities. On the other hand, 30 per cent of cases that we see are mild and preventive, emotional supportive counselling is what we offer. Through the process of identifying the stressor and a step-by-step systematic approach, we successfully offer them prevention, as well as intervention.
Times have changed, so have roles. As much as work stress affects both the sexes, stress as a whole might be a tad more for the women, who still have to take up their roles as homemakers and caregivers after the working hours. But gradually we are reaching up to a point of equilibrium where men are also stepping up to help their partners in the matters of the household. New age couples do not restrict themselves to gender-defined job descriptions. Today, we have fathers who are more pro in child care than the mother, and husbands who are better chefs than the wives. We, as a generation, look out for solutions rather than focusing on the problems. This is a hopeful picture, which eventually would surely give rise to a better and newer dawn.