Common Sources Of Work Stress
Certain factors tend to go hand-in-hand with work-related stress. Some common workplace stressors are:
- Low salaries
- Few opportunities for growth or advancement
- Work that isnt engaging or challenging
- Lack of social support
- Not having enough control over job-related decisions
- Conflicting demands or unclear performance expectations
Stay Off Of Social Media As Much As Possible During Work
Constant connection and the interruption of technology can increase your stress levels.
Social media, for example, can make you aware of stressful events happening to other people or in other places. They might not have any bearing on your life, but you allow yourself to feel stressed about them anyway. Itâs called the cost of caring.
As an interruption, social media and text messages can also add to stress. University of California Irvine found that employees who received a lot of emails were more stressed. They stayed in a âhigh alertâ mode all the time. Being constantly connected and going back and forth in response on social media or via text messages does the same thing. Additionally, it distracts you and slows you down and you end up feeling stress as you rush to catch up with the work you didnât do because you were busy on your phone.
Stay off social media and mobile devices as much as possible when on the job. The last thing you need is drama via social media or text messaging while youâre trying to get your work done.
Encourage Employees To Take Breaks
As Jason Schreier wrote in The New York Times, workplace cultures that encourage non-stop work have damaging effects on their employees. He outlined a phenomenon called crunching, where video game developers work as many as 20 hours a day for days or weeks on end.
The designer Clint Hocking described suffering memory loss as a result of the stress and anxiety of crunching on a game. Brett Douville, a veteran game programmer, said he once worked so long and for so hard that he found himself temporarily unable to step out of his car.
If your employees are overloaded and continually sacrificing their leisure time to get stuff out the door, it might be time to reconsider their workload such as hiring more employees, or changing expectations.
And by encouraging them to take breaks throughout the day, employees will come back to the office less stressed and more productive.
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Employees Need An Environment That Is As Quiet As Possible Given The Type Of Work To Manage Stress
Noise is a major factor in environmental stress. Having to work in stressful situations where the noise level is high increases stress dramatically. For many jobs, employees need a quiet work place so they can concentrate on the tasks they have to accomplish.
Do This: Find ways to minimize noise in the office. Ask for employee suggestions and implement guidelines that keep the noise down.
Supply noise minimizing headphones, install noise blocking computer programs, insulate walls and ceilings, place sound absorbing partitions between desks, separate workers, or use other noise minimizing tactics.
Do what you need to in order to help your employees concentrate so they can appropriately do their work.
As one of the nations most effective wellness programs WellSteps helps employees manage stress and reduce stress at work. We help worksites implement all of these worksite stress management strategies.
How Can Work Stress Affect Well
Long-term exposure to work-related stressors like these can affect mental health. Research links burnout with symptoms of anxiety and depression. In some cases, this sets the stage for serious mental health problems. Indeed, one study shows younger people who routinely face heavy workloads and extreme time pressure on the job are more likely to experience major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.
High levels of stress at work and outside of it can affect physical health, too. Repeated activation of the fight-or-flight response can disrupt bodily systems and increase susceptibility to disease. For example, repeated release of the stress hormone cortisol can disturb the immune system, and raise the likelihood of developing autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimers disease. Chronic stress can also affect health by interfering with healthy behaviors, such as exercise, balanced eating, and sleep.
Work stress can also harm companies or organizations. Burnout reduces job productivity and boosts absenteeism and job turnover, and also leads to conflict between coworkers, causing stress to spread within a workplace.
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Find A Way To Help Others
Oddly enough, when you help other people, you feel great.
An American Journal of Public Health study found that when someone was dealing with stress, but helped others, they reduced the physical dangers associated with stress.
It sounds crazy â when youâre super stressed, who has time to help someone else? However, turning your attention from yourself to someone else can relieve the self-feeding negativity that serious stress creates.
If youâre feeling stressed, help someone else.
Create A Work Environment That Decreases Stress
When employees are put in a high-stress situation whether from unclear expectations, unreasonable deadlines, or a hectic workspace they are at risk of moving into fight-or-flight mode. This is something that happens to our bodies when we feel threatened. The primal, more emotional, parts of our brains take over, and our ability to think long term, strategize, and innovate decreases. If we stay in this mode too long, eventually, we get burned out. To counter this effect, you need to build a secure work environment and incorporate stress reduction habits into your teams daily workflows.
Increase psychological safety. If your employees perceive your workplace as a threat, then you cannot build the trust your team needs to collaborate and innovate effectively. In her book, The Fearless Organization, Amy Edmondson describes three steps you can take to build psychological safety. First, make your expectations obvious by giving your employees clear goals. Second, make sure everyone feels like their voices are heard, and that everyone knows that you want their voices to be heard. You can do this by inviting people to speak up in meetings and conducting brainstorming sessions more than you impose top-down decisions. Third, develop a work environment that is both challenging and unthreatening. Let people know its okay to fail. Recognize team members who think outside the box, and ask your employees for feedback regularly to show youre all in it together.
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Effects Of Uncontrolled Stress
Work-related stress doesnt just disappear when you head home for the day. When stress persists, it can take a toll on your health and well-being.
A stressful work environment can contribute to problems such as headache, stomachache, sleep disturbances, short temper, and difficulty concentrating. Chronic stress can result in anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. It can also contribute to health conditions such as depression, obesity, and heart disease. Compounding the problem, people who experience excessive stress often deal with it in unhealthy ways, such as overeating, eating unhealthy foods, smoking cigarettes, or abusing drugs and alcohol.
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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Avoid Irregular Work Schedules As Much As Possible
Salaried workers donât have to deal with varying work schedules, but hourly employees do. And itâs a huge stressor. Almost 30% of workers with irregular schedules report having serious work and family conflicts over the issue.
Random shift changes, on-call work schedules can all lead to stress, because workers are constantly in limbo when it comes to balance between work and life. They never know when theyâll need to work with much advance, and itâs difficult for them to make personal plans or even decompress when they could be called to work at any moment.
Try to create schedules that your employees can âbankâ on. Make sudden changes as rare as possible. Make it possible for your employees to rely on a steady schedule enough that they can arrange a solid personal life around their work schedule. This will help them return to work refreshed.
Identify And Track The Stressors At Work
One of the most crucial steps of dealing with a stressful work environment is identifying all the things at work that are stressing you out and putting extra pressure on you. Knowing what is bringing you down can help you find better solutions.
Keeping a journal to track your thoughts and feelings can help you out and be useful. Writing about your day and what stressed you out can enable you to identify your triggers at work. You can also write down how you deal with stressful situations.
Keeping a record of how you react to such situations can help you find which solutions work best for you and how you can implement them in your daily work life. Tracking these events can help you find a pattern among your stressors and what enables you to feel better.
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Ways To Eliminate Stress At Work
The average business professional has 30 to 100 projects on their plate. Modern workers are interrupted seven times an hour and distracted up to 2.1 hours a day. And four out of 10 people working at large companies are experiencing a major corporate restructuring, and therefore facing uncertainly about their futures. This may be why more than 40% of adults say they lie awake at night plagued by the stressful events of the day.
“People are asking me for answers,” says Sharon Melnick, Ph.D., a business psychologist and author of just released Success Under Stress. “Everyone feels overwhelmed and overly busy.”
Is there a way to maintain steady focus throughout the day? Is it possible to do everything that needs to get done and still have energy left over after work? How do you keep cool under so many demands? Informed by 10 years of Harvard research and field-tested by more than 6,000 clients and trainees, Melnick offers the following strategies to take your work stress down a peg, before it takes over your life.
Act Rather Than React
Take A Deep Breath
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or are coming out of a tense meeting and need to clear your head, a few minutes of deep breathing will restore balance, says Melnick. Simply inhale for five seconds, hold and exhale in equal counts through the nose. “It’s like getting the calm and focus of a 90-minute yoga class in three minutes or less at your desk,” she says.
Schedule Your Day For Energy And Focus
Are Your Best Employees Leaving
Employers can often feel that their best employees are continually leaving them, and that may be related to your organization. HR experts have spotted some reasons why good employees quit their jobs.
Among them, the lack of confidence and autonomy, lack of appreciation or recognition, lack of respect, few or no opportunities for growth and development, feeling underutilized, having a bad manager who discharges frustrations and resentment over the team, poor
management, poor communication, excessive workload, lack of support, not finding a balance between work and personal life, lack of inspiration or unhealthy environment, seeing that the other good employees leave, lack of coincidence with the values of the company, and changes in their personal life.
Thus, feeling undervalued is among the main reasons for leaving jobs. You spend many hours at work, sharing time with your colleagues and of course, you want to feel comfortable. Nobody enjoys spending eight or ten hours a day in a place that make them feel unhappy. When you work hard and nobody notices it, or your ideas are not even considered, frustration and unhappiness levels increase.
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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.
Create An Environment That Is Conducive To Productivity And Creativity
The way employees are treated in the environment can influence their work performance. The type of work they do, the way they are evaluated, and what constitutes successful work vary according to the type of arrangement they have with their employer. These variations in treatment for different types of workers can create an environment that is conducive to productivity or creativity.
Nurturing a collaborative office culture with effective team problem-solving skills, which reduces feelings of isolation at work.
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Let Go Of Expectations
It’s normal to have expectations, and sometimes they’re even encouraged, so you can work toward meeting or exceeding them. However, there are times when you’ll need to let go of your expectations so you can readjust your day or compensate for a change of plans that you weren’t expecting. Expectations for how your day will go that are too rigid can easily lead to stress when it doesn’t work out that way.
Tip : Break Bad Habits That Contribute To Workplace Stress
Many of us make job stress worse with negative thoughts and behavior. If you can turn these self-defeating habits around, youll find employer-imposed stress easier to handle.
Resist perfectionism. When you set unrealistic goals for yourself, youre setting yourself up to fall short. Aim to do your best no one can ask for more than that.
Flip your negative thinking. If you focus on the downside of every situation and interaction, youll find yourself drained of energy and motivation. Try to think positively about your work, avoid negative co-workers, and pat yourself on the back about small accomplishments, even if no one else does.
Dont try to control the uncontrollable. Many things at work are beyond our control, particularly the behavior of other people. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control, such as the way you choose to react to problems.
Look for humor in the situation. When used appropriately, humor is a great way to relieve stress in the workplace. When you or those around you start taking work too seriously, find a way to lighten the mood by sharing a joke or funny story.
Clean up your act. If your desk or work space is a mess, file and throw away the clutter just knowing where everything is can save time and cut stress.
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Why Is It Important To Stay Calm At Work
It’s important to stay calm at work because when you’re calm, you’re usually able to think more logically, which helps you make the decisions you must in the course of your workday. A calm demeanor can present well when you’re speaking to a room of people, teaching a workshop, working through a conflict with your coworker or presenting why you deserve a raise or promotion to your manager. When you remain calm, there is more of a chance that you also stay positive, which affects your relationships with those you work with for the better.
Tip : Learn How Managers Or Employers Can Reduce Stress In The Workplace
It is in a manager’s best interest to keep workplace stress to a minimum. Executives can act as positive role models, especially in times of high stress, by following the tips outlined in this article. If a respected manager can stay calm in stressful work situations, it is much easier for their employees to stay calm.
In addition, there are a number of organizational changes that managers and employers can make to reduce workplace stress, including:
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Helpful Ways To Deal With Stress At Work
40% of workers reported their job was very or extremely stressful. Thatâs a problem.
Regardless of what kind of work you do, the reality is that workplace stress is detrimental for employers and employees. Read on to find the causes of job stress, why itâs so harmful, and helpful tips to cope with workplace stress.
Implement Time Management Skills
Set realistic goals
Setting goals is great, but more so is keeping a balanced schedule. Attaining your set goals isnt going to amount to much if you burn out in the meantime. So, yes, go ahead and set some goals, just remember to find the balance between work and family responsibilities while leaving time for social and personal pursuits as well.
Create a daily plan and write it down
This might seem simple, yet it can be so helpful and effective. For example, when you have a busy schedule, and your mind is full of everything you have to do, sometimes by writing down the things you have to do, you can free up your overwhelmed brain. It also helps you look at what needs to be done so you can organize your day.
Assign an order of importance to each task
You can also ask yourself if each task is getting you closer to or further away from reaching your goals. That can help you ascertain if it is a priority or not.
Set a deadline
That is, set a realistic and attainable deadline for your task to be completed. If you dont, it typically will get pushed aside for one that does.
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