Work Stress: Definition, Types, Factors, Impact, Ways to Overcome, etc

Work Stress: Definition, Types, Factors, Impact, Ways to Overcome, etc


Definition of Job Stress


Work stress is a condition in which individuals experience pressure or tension in their work environment which results in individuals responding negatively and feeling burdened in completing their obligations (Mangkunegara, 2017, p. 157). Thus stress can cause decreased employee performance and productivity.


Meanwhile, according to Antonius (2020, p. 37) work stress is an emotional state that arises due to a mismatch between workload and an individual’s ability to deal with work stress. In other words, when the workload is too heavy from a person’s physical and psychological abilities, he will experience work stress.


Furthermore Rivai (in Wenur et al, 2018, p. 53) revealed that work stress is a condition of tension that creates a physical and psychological imbalance, which affects emotions, thought processes and the general condition of an employee. When a person experiences stress, he can be exhausted both physically and psychologically and has the potential to cause physical, psychological, emotional, cognition, to conation (motivation) disorders as well. Thus stress can cause mixed disorders that are quite chronic if experienced by someone.


Saina further (in Pinatih et al, 2017, p. 300) explains in more detail that work stress is a person’s reaction in response to adjustments to various demands both from within and from outside the organization which he feels as opportunities and threats that can be measured through stress reactions and demands. Not only from the workload at the company, stress can also be caused by external factors whether the employee is experiencing household problems, is experiencing a disaster, and so on.


It can be concluded that work stress is a psychological condition that arises due to a mismatch between workload and an individual’s ability to overcome it or is an adjustment to various demands both from within and outside the organization which he perceives as opportunities and threats that affect physical and psychological balance, the process thinking, and emotions that result in less prime conditions to give good performance.


Definition of Work Stress according to Experts


In addition to the understanding according to the experts and their conclusions above, there are many other opinions regarding the definition of work stress. It is better if we also explore these various opinions to strengthen the validity of the notion of work stress itself before discussing other aspects further. Some definitions of work stress according to these experts include the following.


According to Ganyang (2018, p. 252) work stress can be interpreted as a condition in which an employee feels psychologically pressured in dealing with workload and the environment in which he works.


Spielberger (in Sinambela, 2019, p. 472) reveals that work stress is external demands that affect a person, for example objects in the environment or a stimulus that is objectively dangerous. In addition, stress in general can also be interpreted as pressure, tension or unpleasant disturbances that come from outside a person’s self.


Job stress is a dynamic condition in which an individual is faced with an opportunity, demand or resource related to environmental conditions, organizational conditions and to a person (Robbins & Judge, 2017, p. 429).


Work stress according to Vanchapo (2020, p. 37) is an emotional state that arises due to a mismatch between workload and an individual’s ability to deal with the work stress they face.


Types of Work Stress


Berney & Selye (in Asih et al, 2018, pp. 4-5) revealed that there are four types of stress, namely as follows.


Eustress or good stress

It is stress that creates stimulus and excitement, so that it has a beneficial effect on the individual who experiences it. Examples include, the challenges that arise from increased responsibility, time pressure, and high-quality assignments.



It is stress that has harmful effects on the individual who experiences it, such as: unpleasant or excessive demands that drain the individual’s energy, making it easier for them to get sick.



Namely stress that has a tremendous impact on those who experience it. Even though it can be positive or negative, this stress still makes individuals limited by their adaptability. An example is the stress of experiencing a criminal attack.



Is stress that arises because of a lack of stimulation. For example, stress due to boredom or routine work.


Impact of Job Stress


Robbins & Judge (2017, pp. 434-435) explains that the impact caused by work stress can be seen by the following symptoms.


Physiological Symptoms

The initial symptoms that will be caused when someone experiences work stress are usually marked by physiological symptoms. Stress can cause disease in the body which is characterized by changes in the body’s metabolism such as increased blood pressure, headaches, palpitations, and can cause heart disease.


Psychological Symptoms

Stress can cause tension, anxiety, irritability, boredom, procrastination and others which can lead to a feeling of dissatisfaction with various things, especially in terms of work.


Behavioral Symptoms

Behavior-related stress is such as changes in productivity, increased absenteeism, and employee turnover rates. Other impacts are changes in daily habits such as eating disorders, sleep disorders, and also an increase in smoking and alcohol consumption.


Effect of Job Stress on Employee Performance


Employees who experience work stress will face various negative symptoms which in turn will affect their work performance (Siagian, 2019, p. 300). In other words, stress will negatively affect performance and productivity in general.


In research conducted by Steven & Prasetio (2020) entitled “The Influence of Job Stress and Job Satisfaction on Employee Performance at Telkom Witel North Jakarta.” Concluded that work stress has a significant negative effect on the performance of Telkom Witel North Jakarta employees.


Furthermore, based on research conducted by Wirya et al, (2020) entitled “The Effect of Job Stress and Job Satisfaction on Employee Performance at PT. BPR Sedana Murni.” it is concluded that work stress has a negative effect on employee performance at PT. BPR Sedana Murni.


It can be concluded that work stress has a negative effect on employee performance.


Factors Causing Work Stress


Work stress can be caused by many factors including organizational factors, environmental influences, and from the employees themselves. According to Robbins & Judge (2017, p. 433) the factors that cause stress are described as follows.


Environmental factor

Uncertain changes in the organizational environment can affect stress levels among employees. For example: security and safety in the work environment, manager’s behavior towards subordinates, lack of togetherness in the work environment.


Organizational Factors

Excessive task demands, pressure to complete work within a certain time frame.


Individual Factors

This factor includes the employee’s personal life, especially family problems, personal economic problems and innate personality characteristics. Several individual factors that can cause stress include: a) Family problems, national surveys consistently show that people regard personal and family relationships as something very valuable. Marital difficulties, broken relationships and disciplining children are all examples of relationship problems that create stress for employees and carry over into the workplace; b) Economic problems, created by individuals who cannot manage their financial resources is an example of personal difficulties that can create stress for employees and distract them from work; c) Personality characteristics, individual factors that are important in influencing stress are the nature of a person’s basic tendencies. This means that the symptoms of stress that are expressed at work actually come from within that person’s personality.


Ways to Overcome Work Stress


Sinambela (2019, pp. 472-474) revealed that ways to deal with work stress can be done through three patterns, namely as follows.


healthy Pattern,

is the ability to manage behavior and actions, namely the best pattern for dealing with stress, so that it does not cause disturbances and even becomes healthier and more developed. Someone who is able to manage his time and activities in a good and orderly way, then the individual does not feel pressured about something even though there are quite a lot of challenges and pressure.


harmonious pattern,

namely the ability to manage time and activities to deal with stress harmoniously and not cause various disturbances. In this pattern, one can control various challenges and busyness by managing time well and doing tasks properly, and if necessary fully entrusting tasks to others. With this, balance and harmony can occur between the pressure received and the reaction given.


pathological pattern,

namely the pattern of dealing with stress with the impact of various physical and socio-psychological disorders. In this pattern, someone will face challenges without having the ability and balance in managing time and tasks. This method can create dangerous reactions because it can cause various bad problems.


Meanwhile, Robbins & Judge (2017, pp. 436-437) suggests that there are two ways or approaches to managing and dealing with employee work stress in organizations, which include the following.


Individual Approach

An employee can take personal responsibility for reducing his stress level. Individual strategies that have proven effective include implementing time management techniques, increasing physical exercise, relaxation training and expanding social support networks.


Organizational Approach

Several factors that cause stress, especially the demands of tasks and roles as well as the organizational structure have been controlled by management. Thus, these factors can be modified or changed. Strategies that management might want to consider include improving personnel selection and job placement, using realistic goal setting, job redesign, increasing employee engagement, improving organizational communications and enforcing corporate welfare programs.


Dimensions and Indicators of Work Stress


Spielbreg in Sinambela (2019, p. 474), concrete benchmarks that can be used to measure and observe work stress for research and company evaluation can be grouped into two dimensions and indicators as follows.


Individual Stress,

is stress related to work or tasks performed because it is related to the state of the work environment, with indicators that include: a) role conflict; b) career burden; and c) relationships in work.


organizational stress,

is stress related to all activities in the organization where the activity affects the work of individuals whose indicators include: a) organizational structure; b) workload; and c) leadership.


Meanwhile, according to Afandi (in Qoyyimah, 2019, p. 13) the indicators of work stress are as follows.


Task Demands

Heavy and excessive task demands can cause work stress, for that in dealing with work, a person must be able to manage his work stress conditions as well as possible.


Role Claims

That relates to the pressure given to someone as a function of the particular role played in an organization.


Interpersonal Demands

This is pressure created by other employees.


Organizational structure

An overview of agencies colored by an unclear organizational structure, lack of clarity regarding positions, roles, authorities and responsibilities.


Organizational Leadership

Provides a management style to the organization. Several parties in it can create an organizational climate that involves tension, fear and anxiety.

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