Stress is one of the top challenges faced by employees in organizations and we all face with this issue from time to time in our daily lives not only as an employee but also as individual. In competitive business environment, Companies can set unreachable goals in terms of time, sometimes. Top management pushes their managers reach goals faster or they can ask them to achieve higher goals in same period of time that the managers cannot commit. The managers reflect the pressure they faced, to their subordinates and they also have to set tight deadlines, even these deadlines are not realistic. Tight deadlines and too much workload cause stress. Working under tight deadlines is shown as a ability that employees should have. People show this situation on their resumes as ability, and also companies ask employees that they can work efficient under pressure.
Stress is not bad all time, it makes people to stay awake and increase their efficiency to some extent. Good stress motivates people to achieve requirements, meet goals and improve their abilities. But, if a person works under pressure and stress in a long period of time, he or she will feel like treated, tired, and hopeless and it will cause burnout feeling at the end. We can see the relation of efficiency and period of time that the people experienced stress as a curve. Every human being has some stress level that she or he can handle and his / her works more efficiently, If the level goes up, success pointer turns down. It is like growing muscles, you want to be more powerful, you should exercise with more and more weight but if you work out with too more weight that you cannot ready or handle, you will get your muscles harm, the same it true for working out without giving any break days and you don’t have any time to rest, it starts to drain your muscles and consume your power.
In my earlier experiences at my current company, we have an experience long last period, which we faced workload too much and we had a very short time to do our jobs. But this tight deadline period was prolonged to 5 months. Stress first effects on you psychologically. You feel that you lose your autonomy and the ability to change things, even disable to finish work done and miserable, nervous. People were always sensitive and there was an environment that people could misunderstand each other. Also, the quality of work decreased, everybody didn’t have to time to think clearly and do things write, we were in a hurry all the time. At the end, it effects our software application test result, there were too many bugs in our applications, so many features and things changed in our application, because the business team also had to think in rush and they met lots of mistakes, we also code our parts over and over again because of changing decisions. I see this experience as a great lesson to learn so many things about going rush, pushing people and loading work and pressure on them and causing very stressful environment is not working for companies anymore. Stressing people too much that they couldn’t even work, doesn’t bring any outcome to the project and company. Some people didn’t handle the feeling they were not enough to accomplish anything on time, some of them thought that they didn’t want work so hard all the time and they just quitted the job. After this teaching experience, our company and my managers also had a lesson on this chaotic working period, they don’t want to push us again any kind of rush, because they see that every-time they push us on very stressful and unbelievable time commitments, this circumstances cause us to make so many mistakes that cannot be returnable.
Of course, time management and productivity are very important for companies, but even in that manner they shouldn’t be greedy for asking impossible and pushing human limits. As my personal experience about this project, stress first effected my psychology, the times that I thought I couldn’t breathe became frequent and then it effected my physiology also, I had migraine crisis at work several times and my stomach wasn’t same any more. Also it effected employees’ loyalty and satisfaction, my company didn’t lose those people who quitted only but also they lost know-how as we are in IT sector it’s more important.
Work & Life Balance is another challenge, faced in organizations recently. Affordable and increased technologies have made employees to keep contact with work very feasible and easy. From one point of view, Working remotely at home and being connected for urgent works and answering calls without going workplace are advantageous for companies and employees also. On the other hand, managers might ask their employees to answer their emails or calls even at late hours, and also some of them can see this situation as a right for themselves or an obligation that employees should fulfill, sometimes they can see that’s a feature that companies provide workers could work efficiently and more. In these circumstances, employees could feel trapped and couldn’t establish a healthy work & life balance most of the time.
I believe that if a person has enough time to rest, enjoy and being prepared for the other day, it will increase the productivity, and also person’s life quality. Work outcome should be shown as qualitative metrics not quantitative ones. Companies, even some countries such as Norway, Netherlands, and Sweden have believed that increasing working hours hasn’t contributed more and also it decreases work efficiency. The numbers of these companies and countries are increasing these days. Working ten hours day by day isn’t better than working 8 hours per day. Researches show that working 8 hours a day is almost same with working 6 hours in a day in a manner of work outcome. Overwhelming workload isn’t the cleverest way to do business. It has also side effects such as losing creativity, stress, decreasing job satisfaction. As I said before, outcomes of works aren’t only related qualitative parameters like work hours but also companies should focus time management, improving skills, motivation and relationship among themselves. I think employees don’t accept endless work hours or increased work hours, I mean maybe two or three-day-over-workload for achieving some commitments is OK, but it shouldn’t be an accepted life style for employees and even for companies. Companies should serve their worker some free time to work on their hobbies related with their jobs. Today we see lots of successful products or services are coming from side projects. Work of employee is grifting life of employee, I think this transaction should be the other way; people may use their live experiences or thoughts on their work to enrich their job. Accomplishing this experience, companies should rethink about their strategies and shape them in an organic way.
Being a strong team is also the key for making great works. In this ages, information is getting wider and know how is getting important for doing business. Our knowledge circle is getting wider but human capacity has limits. A team can achieve a work that one person couldn’t handle on and as team; employees can make strong each other as well as the work, by working together as a whole. But it’s also the hardest thing in this ages, cause of individualistic perception is very strong. Managers should gather employees that have different religious, working styles, know-hows, experiences and different point of views. It’s not so easy to make the work within a harmony sometimes. A manager should discover the core values that the group share, he or she helps for creation process of a team feeling. I believe trustworthiness and strong relations among team are prerequisites for creating a strong team feeling. People should be open to each other and also company culture role a play in this manner. How procedures are clear and transparent for employees.
Another important thing, team and team lead should embrace failures and successes together. In a case like all the team works hard but the rewards going just one person in the group, team members start to think that “there is no justice in the organization / team”. If they lose their faiths on success or a team feeling, they also lose their motivation and they stop to feel as a part of organization and team. So reward system and performance feed backs play direct role in creating this team feeling and justice feeling. Expression of team members’ thoughts should be very easy and diversity should be welcomed and it should be perceived as a wealth in organization.
Companies should be sure that the cores of their powers they have, comes from their employees. Their motivation, the work they made together can change and sharp the company’s future. Even a company can be shown as a team – a huge one. Companies should replace “you and I feeling” with “we feeling”. “We” can achieve way too much than “I / you”. Companies focus on evaluating team performances and organizing social activities for supporting and teaching act as a team. Organizational behavior should be main concern for firms to make strong organizations.
My Personal Essays on MBA Education / Organizational Behaviour / Burcu Geneci
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