Olubusola A. Ogunlade
Dispatches From the War on Stress
March 14, 2010
Stress is the result of any emotional, physical, social, economic, or other factors that require a response or change (Caspi, 1987). It is generally believed that some stress is okay (sometimes referred to as "challenge” or "positive stress") but when stress occurs in amounts that you cannot handle, both mental and physical changes may occur. "Workplace stress" is the harmful physical and emotional responses that can happen when there is a conflict between job demands on the employee and the amount of control an employee has over meeting these demands (Caspi, 1987). In general, the combination of high demands in a job and a low amount of control over the situation can lead to stress. When people feel overwhelmed, they lose confidence and become irritable or withdrawn, making them less productive and effective and their work less rewarding.
Workplace stress is on the rise and it is costing corporate America a fortune (Folkman, & Lazarus,1988). Some estimate that 80% of health care costs are stress related, and these expenses go right to the bottom line (Folkman, & Lazarus,1988). According to CNN-Money.com, Americans spent more than $17 billion for anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs in 2002, up 10% from the year before and nearly 30% over a two year period (Folkman, & Lazarus,1988). The Institute for Management Excellence reports that American industry spends more than $26
billion each year for medical bills and disability payments with another $10 billion for executive's lost workdays, hospitalization, and early death (Folkman, & Lazarus,1988). In addition to these staggering figures, stress takes its toll through the added costs of quality control, legal challenges, lost opportunities, poor performance, bad attitudes, and training.
Overworked employees are becoming a real issue in today’s workplace, and when it gets to that...