How Stress Affects The Workplace
Although some jobs are more stressful than others, stress can affect workers in every industry. Everyone handles stress differently, so the negative impacts of workplace stress are often displayed in different ways. Its important to address the situation if you notice an employee begin to experience one or more of these common side effects.
- Low employee engagement: Stressed employees tend to be less engaged in their work. Gallup found that 80% of people are not engaged or are actively disengaged at work, partly as the result of stress. According to Gallup, lack of engagement costs the global economy $8.1 trillion in lost productivity each year.
- Lack of focus and productivity: Many employees report that they have difficulty focusing on tasks at work because of stress, which can result in lower employee productivity.
- Poor employee performance: Employees may make errors and/or miss their deadlines because of stress, resulting in lower employee performance and a reduction in product and/or service quality.
- Tense company culture: Stress can negatively impact your company culture. For example, stressed employees may have trouble getting along with their coworkers or superiors. Others may also be frustrated that they must pick up the slack of a stressed employee.
- Increased absences or tardiness: Stress can cause employees to show up late or miss work altogether.
Digesting The Statistics Of Workplace Stress
Numerous surveys and studies confirm that occupational pressures and fears are far and away the leading source of stress for American adults and that these have steadily increased over the past few decades. While there are tons of statistics to support these allegations, how significant they are, depends on such things as how the information was obtained , the size and demographics of the targeted group, how participants were selected and who sponsored the study. Some self-serving polls claiming that a particular occupation is “the most stressful” are conducted by unions or organizations in an attempt to get higher wages or better benefits for their members. Others may be conducted to promote a product, such as the “Stress In the Nineties” survey by the maker of a deodorant that found housewives were under more stress than the CEOs of major corporations. Such a conclusion might be anticipated from telephone calls to residential phones conducted in the afternoon. It is crucial to keep all these caveats in mind when evaluating job stress statistics.
According to a Gallup poll, with global borders closing, workplaces shuttering and jobs being cut, workers’ daily stress reached a record high, increasing from 38% in 2019 to 43% in 2020. Leaders and managers at every level should address this as it could lead to increased burnout, upset and disengagement.
Highlighted statistics from the report:
Highlighted statistics from the report:
The Impacts Of Workplace Stress
Workplace stressors are classified as physical and psychosocial. Physical stressors include noise, poor lighting, poor office or work layout, and ergonomic factors, such as bad working postures.
Psychosocial stressors are, arguably, the most predominant stress factors. These include high job demands, inflexible working hours, poor job control, poor work design and structure, bullying, harassments, and job insecurity.
Workplace stress not only affects the worker, it also has adverse effects on company performance well. The effects of job-related strain are evident in workers’ physical health, mental health, and their behavior.
These effects occur in a continuum, beginning as distress in response to stressors. Distress, in turn, leads to elevated blood pressure and anxiety, which increase the risk of coronary heart disease, substance abuse, and anxiety disorders.â
The impact of stress on cardiovascular disease has been well established: Studies have shown that workplace stress is a strong risk factor for preludes to cardiovascular disease and of adverse cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke.â
There is also a growing body of evidence that work-related stress increases one’s risk of diabetes. Other physical health problems linked to workplace stress include immune deficiency disorders, musculoskeletal disorders including chronic back pain, and gastrointestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome.â
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Stress: The Influence On Your Mind
Besides the influence on the body, stress can also have severe consequences on your psychological wellbeing. For example, stress can introduce worrying. Worrying is a sped-up version of thinking in circles, where you keep getting stuck on the same subject without finding a solution. If this keeps up for a long time, this can lead to psychological exhaustion, which in turn can lead to depression and burnout.Stress can also make you have more trouble with focusing and remembering things, which can make your work, housework and other daily tasks much more difficult. If you are stressed, these tasks will take more time too, which in turn can lead to more stress.
Worrying Workplace Stress Statistics
Stress, depression, and anxiety are, unfortunately, part of the modern human condition. Global statistics show that an increasing amount of people are struggling with mental health issues. Thankfully, were now talking more openly about these problems than ever before.
Workplace stress makes up a significant part of the general mental health crisis. Changes in the economy and increased financial concerns translate into pressure at work. Workplace stress statistics reveal that heavy workloads, deadlines, and demanding bosses all contribute to the problem. Stress due to work, if left untreated, can cause serious mental health problems for employees. Theres a financial burden, too stress can lead to serious drops in productivity and end up costing a huge amount for both private companies and governments.
Weve compiled these statistics concerning stress in the workplace to show you just how big a problem work-related stress is.
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Stress symptoms: Effects on your body and behavior. The Mayo Clinic.
The Effects of Stress on Your Body. WebMD.
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Strained Interactions And Relationships
Stress is a major contributor to job burn-out and strained interactions with peers and supervisors, says Bob Losvyk, author of “Get a Grip!: Overcoming Stress and Thriving in the Workplace.” The combined feelings of helplessness and hopelessness generate heightened sensitivities to any and all forms of criticism, defensiveness, depression, paranoia about job security, jealousy and resentment toward co-workers who seem to have everything under control, short-fuse tempers, diminished self-esteem and withdrawal.
Make Time For Regular Exercise
Aerobic exerciseactivity that raises your heart rate and makes you sweatis a hugely effective way to lift your mood, increase energy, sharpen focus, and relax both the mind and body. Rhythmic movementsuch as walking, running, dancing, drumming, etc.is especially soothing for the nervous system. For maximum stress relief, try to get at least 30 minutes of activity on most days. If its easier to fit into your schedule, break up the activity into two or three shorter segments.
And when stress is mounting at work, try to take a quick break and move away from the stressful situation. Take a stroll outside the workplace if possible. Physical movement can help you regain your balance.
Can Workplace Stress Be Defined
We hear a lot about stress, but what is it? As stated by the Canadian Mental Health Association:
âStress is a reaction to a situation â it isn’t about the actual situation. We usually feel stressed when we think that the demands of the situation are greater than our resources to deal with that situation. For example, someone who feels comfortable speaking in public may not worry about giving a presentation, while someone who isn’t confident in their skills may feel a lot of stress about an upcoming presentation. Common sources of stress may include major life events, like moving or changing jobs. Long-term worries, like a long-term illness or parenting, can also feel stressful. Even daily hassles like dealing with traffic can be a source of stress.â
From: âStressâ, Canadian Mental Health Association, 2018
Workplace stress then is the harmful physical and emotional responses that can happen when there is a conflict between job demands on the employee and the amount of control an employee has over meeting these demands. In general, the combination of high demands in a job and a low amount of control over the situation can lead to stress.
Stress in the workplace can have many origins or come from one single event. It can impact on both employees and employers alike. It is generally believed that some stress is okay but when stress occurs in amounts that you cannot handle, both mental and physical changes may occur.
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Do You See Signs Of Workplace Stress At Your Company Learn How It Impacts Employees And How You Can Prevent It
- More than half of U.S. employees feel stressed out at work.
- Employee stress can cause low employee engagement, lack of focus and productivity, poor performance, and an increase in absences and tardiness.
- Stress can also cause injuries and illnesses, creating a rise in disability claims.
- This article is for managers, employees and anyone else interested in learning how stress impacts the workplace.
Stress has a major impact on workers across the globe. According to the State of the Global Workplace 2021 Report by Gallup, more than half of workers suffer from high stress on the job, and roughly 7 in 10 workers are struggling or suffering in their overall lives. Although workplace stress was already prevalent in previous years, the coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted the situation as well, with 45% of people saying they have been affected a lot by the pandemic.
Stress is often brushed off as a normal part of life, but it can have major consequences for employers and employees if left unchecked. Learn how employee stress is impacting businesses and what you can do to reduce it.
Stress Results From Change
People have deep attachments to their workgroups, organizational structures, personal responsibilities, and ways of accomplishing work. When any of these are disturbed, whether by personal choice or through an organizational process from which they may feel quite removed and not involved, a transition period occurs.
During this transition, people can expect to experience a period of letting go of the old ways as they begin moving toward and integrating the new.
When you consider stress in the workplace, understanding these components about stress, situations that induce stress, and employee responses to stress can help you help both yourself and your staff effectively manage stress and change.
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Coping With Stress At Work
Working hard should not be confused with overworking at the expense of relationships and physical health.
Coping with stress at work.
Everyone who has ever held a job has, at some point, felt the pressure of work-related stress. Any job can have stressful elements, even if you love what you do. In the short-term, you may experience pressure to meet a deadline or to fulfill a challenging obligation. But when work stress becomes chronic, it can be overwhelmingand harmful to both physical and emotional health.
Unfortunately, such long-term stress is all too common. In fact, has consistently found that work is cited as a significant source of stress by a majority of Americans. You cant always avoid the tensions that occur on the job. Yet you can take steps to manage work-related stress.
Ptsd And Work: How Your Job Is Affected By Disability
Trauma can shake up your life and get in the way of normal tasks. When you develop post-traumatic stress disorder , it can cause symptoms that disrupt your sleep and your ability to concentrate. After a traumatic event like a car crash or an assault, you may want to pick up the pieces and return to work, but PTSD can make that difficult.
At the same time, theres a stigma surrounding PTSD that its just in your head, and you should be able to shake it off. Unfortunately, it may be very difficult to just shake off a mental health issue like PTSD. So, what can you do about work and other duties and obligations? Does PTSD qualify for things like disability benefits and workers compensation?
Learn more about post-traumatic stress disorder and how you can manage your recovery and return to your life.
Take Time To Recharge
Taking even a few minutes of personal time during a busy day can help prevent burnout.
Listening to an interesting podcast in between meetings or watching a funny Youtube video can give you relaxing pauses throughout the day.
Its also important to take breaks from thinking about your job by not checking work-related emails on your time off or disconnecting from your phone in the evenings.
Sometimes, feeling overwhelmed by work comes down to how organized you are. Try setting up a priority list at the beginning of your work week by preparing tasks and ranking them according to importance.
You can also beat procrastination by setting aside specific time blocks for deep concentration work.
What Causes Workplace Stress:
There are many risk aspects of mental health that may be present in a working environment. Insufficient resources and high demands contribute to stress. However, there are several reasons that cause stress in professional life. Some ordinary stressors include:
Other than these problems, regardless of whether you are comfortable or not, you have to handle everyday social situations. And that is another stressful factor in itself.
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Taking Steps To Manage Stress
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Create A Psychologically Safe Workplace
When employees dont have support when theyre stressed, they become less engaged with their work. Reduce stress by creating a work environment where employees feel comfortable speaking about their feelings without judgment or punishment. A psychologically safe workplace depends on empathetic leaders setting an example.
Encourage managers to approach their team and speak candidly about their well-being and the wellbeing of the group. For example, leadership can host a lunch-and-learn about stress at work and sharing their own experience. A more casual approach works too. For example, managers can have monthly check-ins with employees and lead the conversation about their well-being.
When leaders discuss how theyre doing emotionally, it encourages employees to speak up when struggling. Talking honestly about stress is the first step in managing it effectively and getting support at work.
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Making Work Less Stressful And More Engaging For Your Employees
Today, the ideal job candidate is an innovative, forward-thinking worker who can do more in less time . But, eventually, this kind of culture leads to serious productivity loss and burnout. To battle burnout and successfully lead teams, managers need to rethink their approach. First, they need to focus on reducing stress in the workplace by increasing psychological safety, setting boundaries around time outside of work, and looking into flexible work policies. Next, they need to build employee engagement by making sure people are in the right roles, giving their teams autonomy, and creating a culture of recognition.
We all know that excessive stress is a health hazard. What is less talked about are the effects of burnout on business performance. Stress makes people nearly three times as likely to leave their jobs, temporarily impairs strategic thinking, and dulls creative abilities. Burnout, then, is a threat to your bottom line, one that costs the U.S. more than $300 billion a year in absenteeism, turnover, diminished productivity, and medical, legal, and insurance costs.
Tip : Beat Workplace Stress By Reaching Out
Sometimes the best stress-reducer is simply sharing your stress with someone close to you. The act of talking it out and getting support and sympathyespecially face-to-facecan be a highly-effective way of blowing off steam and regaining your sense of calm. The other person doesnt have to fix your problems they just need to be a good listener.
Turn to co-workers for support. Having a solid support system at work can help buffer you from the negative effects of job stress. Just remember to listen to them and offer support when they are in need as well. If you dont have a close friend at work, you can take steps to be more social with your coworkers. When you take a break, for example, instead of directing your attention to your smartphone, try engaging your colleagues.
Lean on your friends and family members. As well as increasing social contact at work, having a strong network of supportive friends and family members is extremely important to managing stress in all areas of your life. On the flip side, the lonelier and more isolated you are, the greater your vulnerability to stress.
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Mental Health Problems Caused By Stress
Stress triggers or aggravates mental health problems
There are a myriad of mental health disorders that can be laid at the feet of stress. Stress can act as a trigger or aggravate a condition already present. If stress is untreated, it can eventually lead to a sense of dysfunction. This may result in increased Anxiety or a sense of depression because you are not mastering your world.
Feeling depressed or anxious are common reactions to stress. When these are temporary, they are just a reflection of lifes ups and downs. But if they persist long enough, they may develop into a mental health problem that could benefit from professional help.
Following is a short list of mental disorders that are triggered or aggravated by stress:
- Hypochondriasis The majority of people with Hypochondriasis experience real physical pain and anxieties as a natural result of other emotional issues. Stress can trigger or exacerbate Hypochondriasis, particularly chronic stress.
- Dissociative Identity Disorder The causes of Dissociative Identity Disorder have not been identified, but the condition has been linked with overwhelming stress, among other experiences.
- Amnesia Stress and stress-related mental illnesses such as Dissociative Identity Disorder and Dissociative Fugue can cause amnesia.