Today, many organizations and employees are
experiencing the effects of stress on work performance. The effects of stress can be either positive
or negative. What is perceived as
positive stress by one person may be perceived as negative stress by another,
since everyone perceives situations differently. According to Barden (2001), negative stress
is becoming a major illness in the work environment, and it can exhaust
employees and be costly to employers.
Managers need to identify those suffering from negative stress and
implement programs as a defense against stress.
These programs may reduce the impact stress has on employees’ work
Statement of the Problem
The purpose of this study was to determine the
negative effects of stress on employees and the methods employers use to manage
Significance of the Study
There are two primary groups that may benefit from
this study. The first group, consisting
of employees in today’s business organizations, may learn to identify ways that
stress negatively affects their work performance. Identifying the negative effects may enable
them to take necessary action to cope with stress. By sharing this knowledge,
employees can act as a vehicle to help management implement appropriate stress
reduction programs. The second group
that may benefit from this study is employers who may gain insight as to how
stress is actually negatively affecting employees’ work performance.
Scope of the Study
This study was carried out to know the perceptions
of employees as to the negative effects that stress has on work performance and
the steps that employers are taking to manage stress. For the purpose of this
study, what constitutes full-time employment is defined by the employer. This study was limited to employees residing
in Kathmandu Valley. For the purpose of this study, stress is defined as
disruptive influences that negatively affect an individual in the
workplace. Data for this study were
collected during the fall of 2018.
Review of Related Literature
Foster (2002), a professional speaker on
stress-management, surveyed midlevel managers and found stress to be a major
determinant in worker productivity.
According to the study, the primary areas affected by stress are
employee morale, absenteeism, and decision making abilities. By recognizing that a problem exists and by
addressing the issue, managers can reduce stressful activities and increase
worker performance in the organization.
Harrold and Wayland (2002) reported that increasing
stress affects morale, productivity, organizational efficiency, absenteeism,
and profitability for both individuals and the organization. The problem for
businesses today, is to know how to determine stressful areas in their
organizations and how to use constructive confrontation methods to reduce
stress and improve efficiency. According
to the authors, organizations that make a positive effort to deal with stress not
only help build trust among their employees, but also increase the productivity
of their employees and the organization as a whole.
(2001), a stress-management consultant, stated that stress causes problems in
the workplace which negatively affect employee health and organizational
productivity. Stress can lead to
problems such as job dissatisfaction, alcoholism, absenteeism, physical
ailments, and poor job performance. If
managers know how to prevent and cope with stress, productivity can be
increased. Many companies instituted
stress-management programs that led to a decline in absenteeism, a decrease in
sickness and accident costs, and/or an increase in job performance. Schorr reported that a stress inventory,
available from a stress-management program, can assist executives and managers
in assessing employee stress. The
inventory can identify the sources of stress, which may include physical
elements as well as other factors. Once
these sources have been assessed, the program can provide the necessary skills
for coping with the problems, and participants can learn that there are
alternative ways of reacting to stress.
Methods of the Study
Source of Data
Data for this
study were collected using a questionnaire developed by us at School of
Management Tribhuwan University. The questionnaire was divided into three parts. Part one consisted of a list of
9 work performance areas that may be negatively affected by a person’s level of
stress. Respondents were asked to mark
the areas that they think are affected and changed their work performance. They were also asked to indicate the area
that was the most negatively affected by stress and the area that was the least
negatively affected by stress. In the
second part of the questionnaire, a list of 9 programs was provided and the
respondents were asked to indicate which programs their companies had
implemented to manage stress. Part three was designed to collect demographic
data for a respondent profile, including employee classification and age group. A copy of the questionnaire is contained in
Appendix on page 12.
The respondents involved in this survey were
employees working in organizations located in Kathmandu Valley. A non-probability, convenience sampling
technique was used to collect primary data.
We distributed questionnaires through e-mail to members of the sample.
Simple statistical techniques were used to tabulate
the results of this study. The primary
data were analyzed using a percent of response.
To compute the percent of response, the number of responses to each
choice was divided by the total number of respondents who answered the
question. In question one, the percents
of responses for the negative effects of stress on the 9 work performance areas
were reported. The results of the next
two questions were tabulated by totaling the number of respondents who chose an
area they believed was least or most affected by stress. The fourth question reported the percent of
respondents whose employers offered the listed programs to manage stress. Questions five and six asked the respondents
to indicate if they were considered full-time employees and to indicate their
of the Study
This study may be limited through the use of a
questionnaire as a data collection instrument.
Because questionnaires must generally be brief, areas that may have been
affected by stress may not have been included in the questionnaire. Also, all
programs that may be available to employees for managing stress may not have
been included in the study. The study
may also be limited by the use of a non-probability, convenience sampling
method. The sample of employees for the
study was chosen for convenience and may not be representative of the total
population of employees.
Presentation and Analysis
This study was designed to determine the effects of
stress on employees and to discover methods employers use to manage employees’
stress. Fifty questionnaires were
distributed to employees in Kathmandu valley, and the response rate was
The findings will be presented in three sections
according to the following characteristics: Demographic Profile, Areas of Job
Performance Affected by Stress and Programs Employers Offer Employees to Manage
Returned responses from the sample were part-time
and full-time employees by their employers.
The respondents were also asked to indicate their age group; all age
ranges were represented in the results, as shown in Figure 1. The breakdown consisted of 66% between the
ages of 20 and 29, 29% between the ages of 30 and 39,5% between 40 and 49, and
no respondent fall in age group between 50 and 59.
Areas of Job Performance Affected by Stress
respondents were given a list of work performance areas that might be affected
by stress and were asked to mark all areas that they think made change on their
work performance. Only respondents who indicated stress negatively affected an
area were considered in these findings.
Of the 9 areas listed, three areas were identified as having a response
rate of more than or equal to 50.0%.
These areas were as follows:
productivity (63.2%), decision making abilities (50.0%), and creativity
(55.3%). Similarly, Schorr (2001) stated
that a significant number of employees’ creativity is negatively affected by
stress. Falling within the range of a 30.0% to 50.0% response rates were job
satisfaction (36.8%), accuracy (42.1%). Harrold and Wayland (2002) established
that increasing stress and anxiety are having a negative influence on an
individual’s organizational efficiency and productivity. The findings that
negatively affect work performance are shown in Figure 2.
Employees indicated the area they believed was most
affected by stress and the area they believed was least affected by
stress. According to the results,
productivity was thought to be most affected by stress. On the other end of the scale, area least affected
by stress was courtesy. However,
Schorr’s (2001) study found that, on the average, individuals experiencing
stress are more inclined to be absent or tardy.
Programs Employers Offer Employees to Manage Stress
Question four listed 9 programs offered by employers
for managing stress. Respondents were
asked to indicate which programs their companies had implemented to manage
stress. The responses for each program
are shown in Figure 2 and Table 2.
Breaks received the highest number of responses
(50.0%), whereas, Counseling received the lowest (2.8%). Although Employee
Assistance Program and Financial Counseling can play important role to manage
stress, a relatively small response rate was given, 8.3% to be exact. Maurer (2002) stated that it is necessary for
companies to design programs that enable employees to assess stressful
situations and develop a rational mode of behavior. In contrast to Maurer’s research, only 27.8%
of the respondents indicated that Employee Empowerment Programs are being
offered by their employer. A response
rate of 33.3% in the category of Stress Management Seminars/Classes was
The remaining methods for managing stress were
varied. Listed in decreasing percentages,
they are as follows: Training Programs and Alternative Schedules (25.0%), and
On the basis of the findings, several conclusions
concerning the effects of stress on employees in Kathmandu valley can be
drawn. The findings of this study
indicated stress does negatively affect the work performance of employees.
Productivity and Creativity were indicated as two areas most affected by
work-related stress. Therefore, stress
cannot be considered just an individual issue because reduced lower
productivity and creativity have a direct effect on the company as a
study, it can be concluded that employers have realized the importance of
managing stress in the workplace because of the wide variety of programs now
offered to manage stress. Of all
the programs offered by employers, Breaks are the most frequently offered means
for stress management. Because breaks
acts as refreshment for employees, is offered the most, it can be inferred that
employers contend that breaks are the most effective means for managing stress.
Based on the findings and conclusions in this study,
the following recommendations are made:
1. Employers should offer various stress reduction
programs to help employees manage stress apart from breaks. Stress may not be
prevalent in the workplace only because of workload.
2. Employers should conduct a survey of the programs
they already offer to discover which programs are the most effective for
managing their employees’ stress.
3. Employees should share their ideas for managing
stress with their employers in order to help their employers implement
appropriate stress reduction programs.
5. Other factors should be examined to learn what
the personal and work-related causes and symptoms of stress are for an