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03/14/2012

The Problems Regarding Stress And Pressures In Work - Case Of The Current Economic Situation Of Hong Kong


Introduction

The economic status of a certain country is one factor that determines its stability. The higher the economic status it has achieved, the more stable it can be considered. If we were to compare economy to a certain thing, it would be an engine. The more efficient the engine is, the better the country gets. The faster it works, then it will produce and manufacture more. The more suitable the engine is with the kind of work it is for, the better quality of products we can get from it. The number of quality products a country is producing for its economy is also one determinant of how large is the scope of its assets. However, the success and reputation of a country in terms of production depends, not only on the quantity and quality of the products it produces, but also on the quality of the people that produce and distribute them. Definitely, an engine needs an efficient source of manpower, an engineer for that matter. If the engineer has enough knowledge and is very efficient in his job, then, the work will be very productive. Looking at it on a greater perspective, let us say, in a country where the engine is the economy and the engineer would be the people, people working for the said economy should be very knowledgeable, resourceful and efficient as well. These people I am referring to is the country’s labor force. For a country’s economy to boost, government service or assistance is not the sole factor. It strongly needs people to supervise it properly. Seeing to it that the works are well distributed and time is well managed. But what if the labor force of a certain country is facing difficulties in the aspect of working attitude brought about by stress? What if employees suffer from physical and mental illness? What possible remedies can we do? How can we achieve our goal of overcoming stress and pressures?

This paper aims to help, if not completely answer the problems regarding stress and pressures in work. An assessment was made for the current economic situation of Hong Kong, which is starting to decline because of the problems mentioned.

Discussion

Hong Kong was known as one of those countries considered to stable in terms of economic aspect. Despite the fact that it was a colony before of the British, still, they manage to provide their country a better economy (Mushkat, 1997). Employment was good; tourism industry is as well being uplifted, which attracts foreign investors. Their technology is also ahead compared to other Asian countries. There were no attempts to destabilize the government, which is a manifestation that the constituents are satisfied with the services they are receiving. It was more or less six years since the former British colony returned to its Chinese rule but Hong Kong is experiencing a decline in its economy. External trade growth has slowed; domestic demand has clearly been flat. So, too, has the property market. Unemployment has risen marginally and consumer price deflation has eased (Perkin, 2001). Because of this government is trying to solve the hazards they are facing in order recover from the fall of their economy.

 Some studies say that one reason behind it is the labor force of Hong Kong. People here are experiencing too much stress and pressure in work. Their performance is very much affected by this dilemma. Being stressed and pressured has a big influence in their attitude towards their job. Their efficiency is becoming more questionable. Lowered productivity is being observed. These are just some of the costly effects of stress. Stress creates a vicious circle that can affect your body and your attitude. Its effects are not only insidious, but also costly. When a person is affected by stress, it creates tension. This, in turn, will produce symptoms. The perception of symptoms increases the stress (Monat, 1977).

One cited reason for stress is unhealthy lifestyle. They tend to forget their social lives and if I may say so, their lives become dull. They lack recreational activities that will relax their bodies and minds. Everybody believes that too much workload is very tiring not only to the body, but also to the mind and spirit of a person. I am not also saying that they should take life and work in a less-serious manner. What do we mean here is spend time to enjoy, relax and unwind. Healthy lifestyle not only comprises body exercises for relaxation. It also includes the kind of diet we are engage to. Diet does not actually mean eating less. It may be in some cases, but aside from the amount of food we are taking in, it is also important to know the kinds of food we eat. Stress is not good for the heart, so as fatty foods. So we have to monitor our eating habits so we can have a healthy body as well.

Another is the case of women in Hong Kong, it is noted that most of them are working mothers. They are one of those Asian countries believing in the equality of men and women in work. Being working mothers, however, they are still task to do households chores. That is why before they go to their respective offices they are already worn and burned out in addressing the needs of her family. Family problem is just an ordinary scenario wherever we are. This also accounts for the stress women are encountering. The work of a mother, as many people say, is an unpayable job and a noble profession; so, it is reasonable for every mother to be pressured in work. No matter how efficient and dedicated she may be, she can be affected by 'off days', personal problems and illness. It is worse if there is extra pressure to perform well under adverse conditions, such as difficult working scenarios or staff shortages.

These problems are to be addressed as soon as it can still be prevented, otherwise, it will affect the country’s economy as well as its inhabitants well being. This should be given enough attention to protect the welfare of the country. In the face of economic downturns, some studies suggest solutions to this problem. But this should be done in full cooperation of the people. They should show initiative in participating to achieve the goal-to cope up with stress. It also demands that people should be prepared for them to be comfortable with the possible changes they may encounter.

Recommendations and Implementations

There are some simple suggestions on how to cope up with stress. One would be the preparation. For example in going to work, prepare your things the night before so you wouldn’t be experiencing rushing and cramming. This would only allow you to be bothered and disturbed the next day. Setting appointments ahead of time is another. This would allow you to transact business early even before the deadline. In line with this is time management. A difficult work should weigh greater time than the easy ones. Furthermore, start with the simple ones before jumping into the complicated problems. Separating personal problems with work is also advised. Settle first your problems at home before going to work. Yet, if not possible, never let problems ruin your performance, otherwise, it will influence your working habits badly. One thing I believe will do the best thing believing in oneself. As the cliché goes, sound mind is the sound body. Being optimistic at all times will enlighten your burdens with regards your job. Surely this will lead to better results.

The starting point of this solution lies behind the subject- the person involved in coping up with stress. First and foremost, people are advised to create a healthy attitude and clear perspective in work. They should always have a positive outlook so that the outcome of their works would be positive also. Having clear thoughts with regards to work would enable a person work effectively. After setting the mind with a clear vision, the next thing to do is focus. Never let unnecessary things interfere with your mind-setting. Focusing one’s mind towards a certain goal would mean that you have a specific target for your work. It’s as if, “hitting the bull’s eye”, as the cliché goes. This would enable a person attain his specific goal in work. It is also good to learn how to balance circumstances. It is sometimes difficult when contrasting ideas collide. Priority here is a very important thing to consider. Knowing how to prioritize things would free us from being confused. Time management is also important in dealing with pressures. When meeting the deadline, people usually rush not knowing that their work is affected. Avoid cramming. If possible it would be helpful to set a timetable for yourself. Having this does not necessarily mean that you would strictly follow what you listed on it. Thus, it will serve as your guideline in accomplishing an assigned task.

After the subject was done with these by himself, he may now start to involve his environment. The environment I am referring to is the workplace. A conducive place to work is very much advisable. A well-ventilated working place is necessary because it creates a very nice atmosphere while working. When you are comfortable with the place where you are working, then, you can work without too much pressure. Let us say in an office, it is nice to see a light-painted one because it is very pleasant in the eyes of anyone who will one working on it. Things such as tables, chairs, computers and books should be properly arranged. In this case, loss of some important files would be avoided. Nobody would want to work in an office where things were scattered everywhere, isn’t it?

The next step would be your relationship with your colleagues. It would be so nice if camaraderie is observed in a group. Sharing ideas would be very beneficial to all. Brainstorming is advised especially in planning for a long-term project. Each one in the group may have his suggestions as well as alternatives to have better choices. Rejecting ones ideas does not do well. It will only start a misunderstanding as you go on with your project.

According to studies, too much stress can lead to heart problems. It can also sometimes cause emotional disturbance, even worse - a nervous breakdown. Because of this it also suggested that we should have a relaxation once in a while. Having a recreation is healthy to have other outlet of coping with stress. But having a recreation is bounded by the idea of having a healthy lifestyle also. This means that your chosen recreation should be healthy for you. A massage therapy is proven healthy especially to those involved in a physical work. When you feel that you are very tired and restless, it is a good therapy. Engaging in sports is also an advisable form of relaxation. Other suggested recreational activities are ballroom dancing, outings and watching movies at theaters. For younger female workers, a slumber party (pajama party or sleepover to a friend’s house) is good time to bond with your friends. Here, you and your friends are free to talk about topics that do not include work. Less-serious kind of conversation lightens the situation whenever you are burdened with too much problems with regards to work. The above-mentioned activities will not only beneficial to employee’s social life but more so to his balanced and healthy lifestyle and mental health as well.

The management themselves has also their part in this project. Being the employers of these workers, they should be the one to provide stress-relieving exercises to their staff. A 3-day seminar for the employees will enable the to unwind and for once free themselves from worries and pressures in work. Why not engage in a charitable activity for example having a day in an orphanage to promote juvenile well-being. A campaign to fight diseases may also do. Just like what I’ve read before, a Hong Kong-based company engaged itself in Tuberculosis Awareness Campaign. This is beneficial not only to those who will receive the proceeds of the said project but also to the employees themselves because it will serve as an eye opener for them to know how to avoid this kind of disease. They will also be trained how to take care of their own health and realize that no one is excused in being sick. In line with these, stress-relieving activities by the management are also encouraged to promote and enhance their awareness to health issues. This aims to ensure the risks people’s health and safety while at work.

In one research conducted in Hong Kong, it is reported that they launched a counseling seminars for their workers to help them with their problems. Problems mentioned that caused them stress were: workload, job security, health, family and financial problems. Some would really ask for counselors or clinical psychologists to help them in their problems. This project earned the approval of the government for being so effective and helpful to all the workers.

Following these suggestions in coping up with stress will be very helpful to improve work performances of the workers. By using these as guidelines the labor force of Hong Kong will have its development and will be a big help to their declining economy. Better individuals and efficient workers are the keys to keep the economy developing. But this alone is not the sole formula. The assistance of government is also needed. Government plus its constituents working hand in hand to achieve a certain goal will make a better country. If Hong Kong would have both of these ingredients, there is no doubt that they can overcome the crisis they are into right now. They can also bring back the prestige and honor of their state as, not just stable, but a strong country as well. 

References

Joekes, S. (1987). Women in the World Economy. Oxford, USA. Oxford University Press.

Monat, A., Lazarus, R. S. (1977). Stress and Coping: An Anthology. Columbia. Columbia University Press.

Mushkat, R. (1997). One Country, Two International Legal Personalities: The       Case of Hong Kong. Hong Kong. Hong Kong University Press.

Perkin. (2001).  Economic Comments. Available at [www.chamber.org.hk)

 

Accessed [03/02/04].

 

Reinhold, R. B. Toxic Work. Plume Publishers. Available at [Amazon.com].

 

Accessed [03/02/04].

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