Workplace stress is common to all sectors and industries. It is but a harmful emotional and physical response to job requirements that do not match the resources, capabilities, and needs of the worker. It can lead to poor health and even injury.
For most individuals, job stress manifests itself in the form of depression, irritation, boredom, social withdrawal, frequent headaches, and altercations with colleagues, disturbed sleeping, and aggravated health issues such as ulcers, asthma, cardiac problems, and skin allergies.
For workers in the software industry it is even worse. Information technology jobs can take a lot out of you. Constant seating in front of a computer is the biggest reason for mental stress and physical ailment.
Before we proceed, it’s imperative to throw light on some of the specific stressors that cause employee distress.
- Physical stressors: This includes poor work conditions like bad lighting, high humidity, broken air-conditioning, improper ventilation, cramped furniture, unsuitable temperatures, etc. The sedentary lifestyle that comes with the IT package leads to various muscle related ailments as well.
- Psychological stressors: This refers to working long hours without sufficient breaks causing helplessness, frustration, and mental suffocation. Such stressors include a monotonous job profile, unfriendly work environment, job insecurity, work-life imbalance, etc. Other problems include depression, insomnia, headache, and a complete loss of appetite.
Considering the gravity of the situation, stress management requires quality planning and strategizing to best benefit the workers. Employees must ensure that they identify the problems that create stress. They need to stay positive and minimize work pressure through proper planning like developing relaxation techniques or consulting therapists.
It’s not fair to blame a particular industry for the fallacies of a job profile. If the work demands it, you will have to deliver.
Contrary to popular belief, several companies have an agreement with third party organizations to help employees deal with difficult situations. It is always beneficial to check if this prerogative is offered by your company or not.
Individually – as an employee – there are several ways through which you can make yourself heard well above the organizational din:
- Be assertive – you need to learn to say NO. If the employer expects you to stay back late on a regular basis; put your foot down, speak up, and refuse to comply. However, avoid being rude with your supervisor as bad blood can ruin your chances of climbing the corporate ladder. Politely explain that you have a life outside of office, commitments that need to be met, hence; the requirement of leaving work on time – everyday (except when the work demands it).
- Request payment – overtime is very common in the IT industry. However, it must not be accepted for free. If you are required to code for an extra hour every day, make sure that you get paid for it! If the company has no such policy of payment, or if you are refused extra allowance up front, refuse to put in those extra hours.
- Stay organized – the best way to avoid negativity and undue stress is to stay organized and complete your work on time. This way you can minimize any extra time you might need to finish work. Isolate yourself from unnecessary distractions to keep interruptions at bay. Listen to music while working at your own desk. It’s important you continue to interact with your team members, absence of which can boom its own horde of problems.
- Communicate – this goes without saying. Effective communication is the best solution to all business related conundrums. Apart from verbal and written skills, this includes your prowess to listen as well. Understanding briefs properly can lead to timely completion of tasks with minimalistic errors and subsequent feedback. Also, any query pertaining to work or employee behaviour must be intimated to the supervisor immediately.
- Socialize – there is no harm in making friends at work or building relationships for recreational purposes. You could be inhibited by the senior management, but always remember that relaxing and rejuvenating is as important as ‘working’ in a professional environment. Take frequent breaks to cool off. Go for a walk or chat with your friends. Discussing work events with like-minded individuals is a doctor recommended stress buster. It is always good to vent by talking on a personal level.
- Stay healthy – food can sustain you and even kill you. Desk jobs have succeeded in inflating the best of us due to the incessant intake of junk food and beverages. You think you will die without coffee? It is probably killing you with its overindulgence. Maintaining good food habits is a necessary mandate for any desk profile. More so for IT jobs as they advocate a high risk of eye ailments due to constant computer viewing. Eat fresh fruits and green vegetables on a daily basis. Make sure you include a little exercise in your routine to keep your body active and robust. Last but not the least, get plenty of sleep! Those dark circles will only add extra misery to your kitty.
In the end it can be successfully concluded that there is no one way or strategy to combat professional stress. Your temperament, confidence, and love for oneself are the sole weapons required for a smooth career in the world of information technology.
Tina Jindal is a professional content writer who works on a variety of topics like employment, real estate, and education. A career advisor for naukri.com, she has been involved with renowned publications as well. You can contact her @Gmail | LinkedIn | Google+.