Why You Should Be Worried about Stress in Your Workplace
One of the key reasons Steve Ballmer cited for his resignation from Microsoft was that he was under too much pressure from senior leadership. The bottom-line seems to be that the board expected quick results to beat the competition, which resulted in a lot of stress for Ballmer; he couldn’t take this anymore and decided to step aside.
This kind of stress and expectation is not uncommon in the IT world. The same pressure trickles down from the top to the delivery teams, spreading the negative effects throughout the company.
Many organizations don’t realize that putting undue pressure on people forces them to make more mistakes rather than helping them perform better. Whether it is running a project or a company, the cost of stress in the workplace is more damaging than the benefits.
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work describes that stress is due to the demand-and-supply gap. In a software development environment, the demands could be to deliver the working software on time and within budget using available resources. Most of the time, however, the budget and resources are inadequate to meet the demand, resulting in stressful situations.
The stress not only leads to loss of productivity but also to absenteeism and increased staff turnover. There are statistics to prove that this loss could be as much as 40 percent of the earnings of the company. The Medibank research in Australia has calculated a loss of nearly $14.81 billion a year to the economy due to stress-related absenteeism. There are some arguments that undue stress and pressure on teams even lead to defects in the software.
A past survey has shown that nearly 80 percent of American workers have experienced stress in their jobs. It is a reality that the stress has become part of work culture. However, the good news is that there are ways to manage it.
These thirteen things could help you become mentally strong at your workplace, allowing you to combat the negative effects of stress. Several researchers have proven that being assertive at the workplace reduces stress. Did you know that teams on agile projects have comparatively less stress when compared to waterfall teams?
Now, back to the story of Microsoft—the stress created by the company was mostly due to a lack of innovation. The workers had become too complacent, and they woke up to the shock of Apple’s success. It is not easy to turn around a large company quickly unless it builds products that customers love.
No one can predict the future, but in a complex environment, parallel, safe-to-fail experiments are important in building successful products. This, in turn, could help companies be in the forefront of innovation, reduce stress, and be profitable.