The work discomfort syndrome is spreading more and more. The work is going through a process of epochal change: from the late nineteenth century to the present day the types of work have changed profoundly and in recent years we are witnessing a continuous, incessant evolution that, with the appearance of modern technologies and changed conditions of work organization, is changing both the risks and occupational diseases. The experience of change itself, particularly where individuals feel the lack of control or involvement and the uncertainty of the workplace, can cause various situations of work discomfort (mobbing, burnout, work stress, harassment).
Working discomfort: variants
Mobbing – repeated and unjustified behavior against an employee or a group of employees, such as to create a risk to health and safety. means (ex. pc, desk) and from the interpersonal relationships indispensable to the carrying out of a normal and serene work activity.
Burnout – “burned operator” syndrome, a process in which stress is transformed into a defense mechanism and a response strategy to tension, with consequent behaviors of emotional detachment and hesitation of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduction of professional skills. Burnout syndrome occurs mainly in people who take care of others by profession (doctors, nurses, home and social assistants, policemen, teacher judges, educators). Due to the excess of involvement, attitudes of rigidity and intolerance towards people occur; burnout is not only a problem of the individual, but also of the social context in which it operates, especially of that working environment which does not recognize the human aspect of work.
Work stress – is manifested when there is a substantial imbalance between the demands coming from the work environment and the worker’s ability to respond to them or control them, that is when the organization’s demands exceed the worker’s real capacity; or when the needs of the worker exceed the satisfaction opportunities offered by the organization ..
Harassment – any unwanted act or behavior that offends the dignity and freedom of the person who is subjected to it, or that is likely to create retaliation or a climate of intimidation towards him.
Workaholism – work addiction is an undervalued and poorly recognized phenomenon in the context of psychological distress because, unlike other forms of distress, it arises from a personal choice.
Alienation – pervasive feeling of meaninglessness and lack of professional self-realization often deriving from demotion (impossibility of enriching the professional patrimony and / or career advancement).
Work discomfort: symptoms and indicators
The occupational stress usually occurs through a particular mood ( anxiety , irritability, exhaustion, panic, guilt , negativity, disrespect), somatic (headache, sweating, insomnia , gastrointestinal disorders) and behavioral reactions (or absences frequent delays, emotional detachment, reduced creativity).
The main indicators of work discomfort:
– resentment towards the organization
– unusual aggressiveness and nervousness
– feeling of worthlessness, irrelevance and disavowal
– impatience in going to work
– formal adherence to rules and work
– related affectivity – slowness in performance
– organizational confusion in terms of roles, tasks, etc.
– the lack of propositionality at the cognitive level
– relationship problems even in private life.
Work discomfort: causes and development
According to the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work, the factors predisposing to the onset of work discomfort are linked above all to the particular conditions of the professional situation (precariousness, role ambiguity, unsatisfactory remuneration, excessive demands).
The factors that most seem to generate discomfort in the workplace are:
– lack of control and shared reflection on the activity carried out;
– lack of solidarity on the part of colleagues and management;
– poor consistency between the assigned tasks and the characteristics of the worker;
– absence of adequate interpersonal relationships.
– problems concerning the reliability, availability, suitability and maintenance or repair of equipment and systems.
– shift work, non-flexible working hours, unpredictable hours.
Work discomfort: how to deal with it
Those who are experiencing work difficulties can begin with:
– resizing problems so that they can be broken down into bigger children until they can be managed
– giving themselves priority over the tasks to be carried out knowing that there may be jobs that cannot be completed immediately
– focus attention on yourself trying to consider that the discomfort you are experiencing can become a possibility to evaluate other job perspectives closer to your expectations
– devote time to yourself after work in order to create a productive detachment for one’s well-being.
How does a person generally react to a situation that he considers intolerable? It can implement various defense systems, such strategies coping . They consist of a set of behaviors that are activated to deal with specific external and internal needs experienced as impositions, or as superior to one’s own resources or divergent with personal motivations. Another classic behavior is avoidance , that is, avoiding an obstacle or bypassing a problem, perhaps dedicating yourself to something else. Then there are the escape strategies, which can lead to the abandonment of the activity: these can temporarily remove the problem but do not solve it. In the literature, strategies aimed at actively seeking new solutions are considered positive.
In any case, it is always advisable to :
– talk about it in the family, with friends, with the general practitioner and / or with a psychologist or a psychotherapist;
– look for allies in trade unions and associations;
– become aware of the phenomenon in progress and read up;
– collect useful information, such as if there are other people with the same problem, consider the presence of aggressive or anti-union behavior within the company;
– leave the workplace using the possibility of illness, transfer, resignation;
– report situations of harassment or mobbing, even to the detriment of others.
Working discomfort: at the cinema
The appearance deceives (original title Le Placard ) by Francis Veber paints the hypocrisy of the world of work with clever lightness. Corporate policies worthy of the best statesmen overlap with asylum disputes, to the detriment of the weaker. Coalitions and turnaround, in a waltz of roles that now penalize one, now the other.