After reading this chapter, you should be able to answer these questions:
- How do you recognize the symptoms of stress in yourself and in others?
- What are the underlying causes of stress in a particular situation?
- How do managers and organizations minimize the dysfunctional consequences of stressful behavior?
- What are the remedies for job-related stress, and how can managers motivate employees to participate actively in health promotion efforts for the benefit of all concerned?
Workplace Perks: Are They Worth It?
Often tech companies top the charts as the best places to work, touting fancy benefits and big-time perks. However, recent studies have shown that big tech companies can also be extremely stressful places to work. According to research conducted by PayScale.com, more turnover can be expected at companies like Facebook and Amazon due to employees reporting low levels of job satisfaction and job meaning. Also topping the charts for Amazon are reported levels of stress, higher than the tech average—64 percent compared to 58 percent.
“Amazon will work you to death, either you are gone after two years, or you stay forever because you love working that hard,” stated a former employee of Amazon’s cloud business.
Adding to the workplace environment is the company culture. Long hours, often times on weekends, and the expectation of staying connected to e-mail 24/7 add to the stressful workplace.
“Amazon is a culture of self-driven workaholics,” stated Lydia Leong, research analyst for Gartner covering the company. “There is a culture of frugality, and unlike many recent companies in Silicon Valley, you are not compensated for it with an array of free services.”
These conditions may be considered acceptable by many individuals that choose to continue at Amazon and are motivated by the fast-paced environment, but according to the American Institute of Stress, this can cause health risks. Sixty-two percent of individuals studied routinely found that they end the day with work-related neck pain, 44 percent reported stressed-out eyes, 38 percent complained of hurting hands, and 34 percent reported difficulty in sleeping because they were too stressed out.
Work-related stress is one of the most prominent—and costly—issues of today. The World Health Organization reports that physical and mental stress costs businesses $300 billion each year, not to mention the tolls on productivity. However we look at it, stress and stress-related problems have a direct impact on the effective management of organizations, and contemporary managers must be willing to commit the necessary energy and resources to minimize the dysfunctional consequences of such problems if they are to achieve an effective level of operations.
Sources: L. Rao, “Amazon: Working There Will Kills You. But You’ll Love It,” New York Times, August 17, 2015, http://fortune.com/2015/08/17/amazon-new-york-times-workers/; “Tech Industry Salaries,” Payscale, accessed January 12, 2019, https://www.payscale.com/data/tech-industry-salaries; I. Ivanova, “ The Most Stressed-Out Tech Companies,” CBS News, July 25, 2017, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/tech-most-stressful-companies/; “Workplace Stress,” Stress.org, accessed January 12, 2019, https://www.stress.org/workplace-stress/; B. Covert, “Longer Hours, More Stress, No Extra Pay: It’s Not Just Amazon, It’s the Modern Workplace,” The Motley Fool, August 26, 2015, https://www.thenation.com/article/longer-hours-more-stress-no-extra-pay-its-not-just-amazon-its-the-modern-workplace/.
In this chapter, we will examine several aspects of job-related stress and consider several ways in which corporations can facilitate employee health and well-being. We begin by looking at problems of work adjustment as a general framework for the study of stress.