Sometimes your work setting creates physical stress because of noise, lack of privacy, poor lighting, poor ventilation, poor temperature control or inadequate sanitary facilities. Settings where there is organizational confusion or an overly authoritarian, laissez faire or crisis-centered managerial style are all psychologically stressful.
Act through labor or employee organizations to alter stressful working conditions. If that doesn't work, try the courts, which have become increasingly receptive to complaints of stressful working conditions. Recent rulings created pressure for employers to provide working environments that are as stress-free as possible.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the federal agency charged with monitoring the work environment in the interest of work safety and health. If you think your work environment is dangerous to your health and safety from a physical standpoint, give them a call.
If nothing helps and the working environment remains stressful, exercise your avoidance options and get a new job. Job hunting can be stressful, particularly in times of high unemployment — but being ground down day after day by work is far worse.
Copyright © 1997 by the American Psychological Association. All rights reserved.