Workplace stress can have a physical and psychological impact on your employees. Learn how to identify stress and then eliminate it.
According to 2021 research by the American Psychological Association (APA), 66% of workers consider their jobs to be very important or fairly significant stressors, which is an increase of 2% over the previous year.
Stress can serve as an incentive to do work quickly and efficiently, therefore it’s not always a bad thing. But excessive stress can have a negative effect on how well employees perform at work. In fact, it’s estimated that 1 million employees miss work each day due to stress.
If left uncontrolled, office stress can even impair employees’ relationships with friends, family, and leisure activities, which only serves to exacerbate the issue. A dissatisfied employee is a stressed-out employee, and an unhappy employee is an underperforming employee.
Understanding the symptoms of workplace stress and how to lessen or eliminate them is crucial for both employers and employees.
What causes workplace stress?
Despite the fact that some jobs are less stressful than others, the majority of workers—if not all—experience workplace stress at some point.
According to the APA, some typical work-related stressors include low income, little prospects for growth or advancement, boring or unchallenging work, a lack of social support, a lack of control over your profession, and conflicting or unclear expectations.
Additional factors that contribute to workplace stress include heavy workloads (46%), conflicts with coworkers, managers, or customers (28%), a lack of a healthy work-life balance (20%), and a 6% decrease in job security.
What are the signs of workplace stress?
There are many various ways that stress can appear. Stress lowers employee engagement (33%) and productivity (41%), and it raises employee turnover (15%) and absenteeism (14%), according to a Colonial Life study. Because workplace stress can affect your physical and emotional health, it’s crucial to be aware of the warning signals.
Physical symptoms such headaches, nausea, backaches, elevated heart rate, exhaustion, and disturbed sleep are possible. According to the APA, long-term stress can lead to immune system deterioration, high blood pressure, anxiety, and insomnia. Health issues like depression, obesity, and heart disease are all impacted by such stress.
The issue is made worse by the fact that those who feel severe stress frequently try to cope by overeating, consuming unhealthy foods, smoking cigarettes, or abusing drugs and alcohol.
Stress can have a psychological effect on you by generating irritability, anxiety, and depression. You might feel overstimulated, lose your temper more easily, or struggle to focus or decide what to do. Aggressive actions, mood swings, impatience, and irritation can all be brought on by stress.
How to eliminate workplace stress
What else can you do if changing employment to improve your health isn’t possible or even necessary? Here are a few strategies for lowering stress at work.
1. Identify the cause.
Even if it might seem simple, finding the causes of your stress might help you start the healing process. Self-awareness enables you to recognize the factors that set off stressful mental states so you can come up with better, healthier coping mechanisms.
Since there are numerous potential causes of stress, it is crucial to assess your personal and professional lives to identify the issues that are stressing you out the most. You can begin creating a clear strategy to get rid of or lessen main stresses once you’ve made a list of them.
Finding these stresses early on is crucial because, if left unchecked, stress can have detrimental and even deadly repercussions. The American Institute of Stress found that 65% of workers said that working stress has led to problems. 10% of workers report that workplace stress has resulted in physical violence, while 42% report that yelling and other verbal abuse are frequent in the workplace. Furthermore, 14% of workers reported that their workplace had seen machinery or equipment damaged as a result of workplace rage.
2. Socialize with your co-workers.
Once you’ve realized that your stress at work is affecting you, take ownership of your productivity and interactions with coworkers. A greater connection with those around you and the reduction of some tension may be achieved by making minor adjustments to your communication and working methods.
Do you get along with your coworkers, or do you hide behind your computer and forego contact? Even while you don’t have to be a social butterfly and attend happy hour every week, chit-chatting with your coworkers could help you unwind. Start a conversation by bringing up a few simple, fascinating topics.
As a result, you will get to know one another better on an individual basis and work in a more cooperative setting.
Your mood can be lifted, and you can work together more effectively even if you merely get to know the people on your immediate team.
Especially if you’re working with strangers, projects “can be really stressful. When you have free time, lead the group you’re working with through team-building activities, whether it’s playing a game together, going out to eat, or just doing something you all enjoy.
Stressors are added by the fact that you are constantly linked via your mobile device. Constant phone calls, texts, and email updates have gotten to be excessive especially when you’re still responding to messages long after your shift has ended. Even though there can be times when you need to communicate with your team after work, it is in your best interest to use this time to unwind and recover. Not only may this serve to lessen stress, but it can also help to prevent staff burnout.
Saying yes more frequently when coworkers offer assistance on a major project or are eager to participate is another approach to unplug. Staying organized and on track enables a more effective workday by reducing stress and reducing workload.
4. Keep a handwritten to-do list.
Making a to-do list and sticking to it is crucial for success and overall wellbeing. Writing down your daily duties may seem laborious, inefficient, and superfluous in the digital age. However, making a handwritten list of your top priorities and prioritizing them will help you develop a better understanding of how your day should be structured.
Your daily duties won’t get lost amid all the other things going on your computer during the day if you have a handwritten to-do list, and you won’t worry that you’re forgetting any crucial activities. Making a list in the morning makes it easier to plan out the day’s activities and to determine what needs to be done first thing in the morning. Additionally, physically checking things off your list may be immensely satisfying and give you a sense of success and relief.
5. Schedule breaks into your day.
Your daily habits and activities frequently have a significant impact on how stressed you are. You can feel more at ease at work by kicking negative habits and forming positive ones.
You’re considerably more likely to experience stress if you devote your entire day to work and never take a break from it. Including time for pauses in your daily plan and being diligent about keeping them.
Take a stroll, have a cup of coffee, or pause to eat lunch. All of these activities provide you the opportunity to decompress, give your brain a vacation from your current task, and lessen stress. Breaks of no more than an hour won’t hinder your productivity and will be especially helpful if your job requires you to be creative.
You may train yourself to be ready for a “brain reset” by scheduling periodic breaks at regular intervals each day. As a result, you will be much more productive throughout the day.
6. Be kind to yourself.
John Koeberer, author of Green-Lighting Your Future: How to Manifest the Perfect Life, said a healthy diet and regular exercise, along with a good self-image and spiritual practices, can prepare you to deal with stress successfully.
Even just knowing that your mind, body, and spirit are healthy serves as a powerful inhibitor against stress taking root.
It can be challenging to look beyond your current stress-inducing projects and deadlines. Even lengthy assignments come to an end eventually, so you simply need to keep working and keep in mind that when you’ve finally overcome the difficulties you’re currently having, they’ll seem trivial and irrelevant.
We can all recall situations that seemed to be deal-killers at the time but turned out to be little anthills. Adopt the perspective that this will pass as well.
It might not be possible to eliminate all sources of stress from the workplace. You might not even want to do that because a little stress can help you stay motivated and achieve deadlines. However, trying to reduce negative stress and create a healthier environment will alter the way you view your work.
What employers can do to reduce stress in the workplace
Excessive job stress is detrimental to both employers’ and employees’ health. A $300 billion price tag is attributed to job stress as a result of accidents, absenteeism, employee turnover, decreased productivity, workers’ compensation claims, and costs for medical care, legal counsel, and insurance. With the following methods, employers can lessen excessive workplace stress:
- Create realistic goals.
- Communicate clearly with employees.
- Offer fair compensation.
- Model a healthy work-life balance.
- Recognize achievements.
- Give employees stress screenings.
- Promote programs that encourage health and exercise.
Contact MCDA CCG, Inc with any questions about your business; or if you would like to learn more about how we can help you eliminate stress in your workplace.