What Can Be Done About Job Stress
The examples of Theresa and David illustrate two different approaches for dealing with stress at work.
Stress Management. Theresas company is providing stress management training and an employee assistance program to improve the ability of workers to cope with difficult work situations. Nearly one-half of large companies in the United States provide some type of stress management training for their workforces. Stress management programs teach workers about the nature and sources of stress, the effects of stress on health, and personal skills to reduce stress-for example, time management or relaxation exercises. Stress management training may rapidly reduce stress symptoms such as anxiety and sleep disturbances it also has the advantage of being inexpensive and easy to implement. However, stress management programs have two major disadvantages:
- The beneficial effects on stress symptoms are often short-lived.
- They often ignore important root causes of stress because they focus on the worker and not the environment.
As a general rule, actions to reduce job stress should give top priority to organizational change to improve working conditions. But even the most conscientious efforts to improve working conditions are unlikely to eliminate stress completely for all workers. For this reason, a combination of organizational change and stress management is often the most useful approach for preventing stress at work.
There Should Be A Spirit Of Cooperation And Respect At Work
A hostile work environment contributes to stress and poor health. A spirit of cooperation and support are essential for the well-being of your employees and the progress of your organization.
Do This: Be an example of what you want to see in employees. Respect them and they will be more respectful of each other. You set the tone. If employees feel that they have the support of others, they will be much more likely to follow suit.
Feeling respected and respecting others creates unity in the workplace and builds relationships of trust. Trust is the basis of a positive work environment and it can be a valuable buffer against the negative effects of stress.
Take The Breaks You Are Given
Take your allotted breaks.
If thereâs a park or bit of nature nearby, go there. If your work environment is stressing you out, try to change your environment, either by going someplace else or by reading to get your mind in a different place.
You need a break, especially if youâre stressed. If management makes it difficult to take a break, press the issue. You have a legal right to breaks.
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Tip : Reduce Stress At Work By Prioritizing And Organizing
When workplace stress threatens to overwhelm you, there are simple steps you can take to regain control of yourself and the situation. Your newfound ability to maintain a sense of self-control in stressful situations is often welcomed by employees, managers and subordinates alike, which can lead to better relationships in the workplace.
Here are some suggestions to reduce stress in the workplace by prioritizing and organizing your responsibilities.
Consider Having Flexible Schedules
Being overworked is one of the leading complaints stressed employees have. Sure, certain roles are more demanding than others and may require overtime here and there. But you want to ensure you’re not overdoing it. And you want to grant workers the opportunity to choose work hours and days.
It’s also a good idea to consider remote work for positions that don’t require being on-site. The more flexibility you offer, the more in control your workers will feel. In turn, they may perform better and engage more.
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Take An Impromptu Vacation
If youre experiencing an unusual number of headaches, a sore neck, sore back, or other aches and pains find you have trouble falling or staying asleep or are snapping at your colleagues for no reason, your stress levels may be making you sick, and its time for a day off. Check your calendar for the coming week and find the first available day you can take. If you really are feeling unwell, take it as a sick day rather than a vacation day. Theres no shame in admitting that you are unwell. Whether you do something special or simply rest, make sure you take days off when you need them. If you dont you can bet youll be really sick before long.
Time Management Tips For Reducing Job Stress
Create a balanced schedule. All work and no play is a recipe for burnout. Try to find a balance between work and family life, social activities and solitary pursuits, daily responsibilities and downtime.
Leave earlier in the morning. Even 10-15 minutes can make the difference between frantically rushing and having time to ease into your day. If youre always running late, set your clocks and watches fast to give yourself extra time and decrease your stress levels.
Plan regular breaks. Make sure to take short breaks throughout the day to take a walk, chat with a friendly face, or practice a relaxation technique. Also try to get away from your desk or work station for lunch. It will help you relax and recharge and be more, not less, productive.
Establish healthy boundaries. Many of us feel pressured to be available 24 hours a day or obliged to keep checking our smartphones for work-related messages and updates. But its important to maintain periods where youre not working or thinking about work. That may mean not checking emails or taking work calls at home in the evening or at weekends.
Dont over-commit yourself. Avoid scheduling things back-to-back or trying to fit too much into one day. If youve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the shoulds and the musts. Drop tasks that arent truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them entirely.
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Employees Want And Need Job Security
Employees face growing job insecurity. Downsizing, layoffs, and budget cuts are increasingly common. The result of this uncertainty is stress.
Do This: Give your employees opportunities to expand their skills in order to increase their value to the organization. But no matter what, communicate with your employees. Let them know about changes that may be taking place. Even if you dont know all the answers, be honest and upfront and work with them the best you can.
Deal Directly But Constructively With Difficult Workplace Relationships
Toxic people are those whose negativity or demeanor seems to drain or annoy you. This might be your boss, your assistant, your colleaguein other words, they are people with whom you frequently interact. After a negative encounter with a toxic person, the temptation is to be angry and accusatory. But that leads nowhere. Instead, try this direct, honest, and disarming approach: I am finding our interactions stressful because of and am feeling bad about . I would like our working relationship to improve. What suggestions do you have for me? Even if you feel that the other person is the one who should change, by asking for his or her suggestions, you avoid putting that person on the defensive. If your colleague is even a little bit reasonable, this might make him or her admit, Well, I suppose there are some changes I could make too. Use these tips to make work stress management way easier.
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Breathe In Breathe Out
Wondering how to de-stress at work?
Stress from tight deadlines and high stakes can cause us to lose focus.
If we let stress get the best of us, it can reduce our unicorn ideas to donkey fodder.
You can calm your mind and reduce anxiety in a matter of minutes with a handful of proven techniques to reduce stress.
Here, 15 ways to de-stress at work instantly.
Common Causes And Symptoms Of Burnout At Work
Burnout is commonly associated with helping professions such as nursing. However, all organizations experience the consequences of employee burnout. In a national survey by Kronos Incorporated and Future Workplace, 46 percent of human resource leaders blamed employee burnout for up to half their workforce turnover. According to this survey, heres what causes burnout.
- Unfair compensation: For 41 percent of survey respondents
- Unreasonable workload: For 32 percent of survey respondents
- Too much overtime: For 32 percent of respondents
Other common causes of burnout, according to the Mayo Clinic, include the following.
If someone struggling with burnout fails to address and manage it, symptoms can have an impact on life inside and outside the workplace. Here are some of the symptoms of burnout.
- Exhaustion: A burned-out worker might feel constantly drained, unable to cope with stress and in a bad mood.
- Cynicism: Burnout can cause workers to isolate themselves from other workers or work-related activities. They may feel stressed and frustrated about anything work-related and wish to avoid all activities and people that remind them of work.
- Reduced performance: Employees experiencing burnout may find it hard to focus on their work.
Sufferers of burnout might also experience insomnia or turn to substance abuse to relieve symptoms.
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Take The Team Out On Company Offsites
If you really want to give your employees a break, take them somewhere fun to get their minds off workplace stress and bond with each other. The possibilities are endless: you could go to a vineyard, grab a drink together at the local pub, check out a baseball game, or have a picnic in the park.
The activity you choose isnt important. Whats more important is the spirit of getting out to do something fun together, to take away from the day-to-day stress at work. Not only will it help reduce workplace stress, it will also help your employees build personal connections and work better together as a team.
What Are The Sources Of Stress At Work
The range of stressors in a work environment are incredibly broad due to their subjectivity. Not every source of stress will apply to every person equally, but you may feel the following at some point in their career:
- Challenging interpersonal relationships
- Physical discomfort
- Dissatisfaction in your role.
More information about identifying and understanding stress triggers can be found in our article:What is workplace stress?
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Employees Need Sufficient Physical Space To Do Their Jobs
Employees working in a comfortable space feel more in control of their situation, thus reducing work related stress. It is important that they have enough space to easily complete their assignments, especially in times of high stress.
Do This: Make it possible for each employee to have a space of their own that is adequate for them to do their work. Allow them to make the space their own so they feel comfortable there.
Tip #2 Identify Your Triggers
Certain things are universally stressful: loud alarms, crying babies, and endless Zoom meetings. However, its also common for each of us to feel more stress about certain things when compared to others, and these triggers can vary from person to person and even throughout the course of our lives. Stress triggers can include many everyday situations, from traffic to a social media overload.
You may not be able to always avoid the triggers, but identifying them can also help you understand the reasons behind your stress and your feelings during specific moments. This way, youll know exactly when to step away from the triggers or engage in stress management strategies.
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Rate Your Colleagues With F And D Grade
You will find different types of people around you at work. Grade them with F and D. F is for people who fill you up with energy and D is for people who drain your energy.
Try to avoid Ds as much as possible throughout the day. Connect with an F when you feel drained out, suggested by James Campbell Quick Ph.D. professor of organizational behavior at the University of Texas, in Arlington.
How To Handle Stress At Work
- Luana Marques, PhD, Contributor
If youre currently working, you probably know what it feels like to be stressed on the job. A must-do project arrives without warning. Three emails stack up for each one you delete. Phones ring, meetings are scheduled, a coworker drops the ball on a shared assignment.
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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.
Stay Out Of The Office Gossip Mill
Workplace conflict can take a major toll on your emotional well-being. Try to avoid participating in gossipy situations.
If you know that one of your colleagues is especially prone to gossip, find a way to spend less time with them or steer the conversation to safer topics.
Some other strategies for staying out of the fray include:
- emphasizing the positive
- ignoring the conversation and changing the subject to something unrelated
- walking away
If you need to get that presentation just right or find yourself working extra hours perfecting a report you finished days ago, it may be time to take a step back and reflect.
While perfectionism has some positive benefits, it can also be highly stressful and lead to burnout.
Try to keep your high standards in check by focusing on the effort you put into a project and not personalizing failure when you make a mistake.
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Employees Should Be Encouraged To Take Breaks During The Day To Help Manage Stress
Short breaks throughout the day allow employees to recharge and refocus. Regular breaks help employees work more effectively.
Do This: Encourage employees to take regular mini-breaks. If leaders take breaks and invite others to join, they likely will. This will help set the acceptable length and type of a break. Walk for five minutes, stretch, get some fresh air, meditate, listen to music, or even just get a glass of water. Also suggest that employees get away from their desks during the lunch hour.
What Can Employers Do To Address Stress In Their Workplace
There are many strategies that can help control stress and reduce its impact to a person or in the workplace. Since the causes of workplace stress vary greatly, so do the strategies to reduce or prevent it.
Where stress in the workplace is caused, for example, by a physical agent, it is best to control it at its source. If the workplace is too loud, control measures to deal with the noise should be implemented where ever possible. If you are experiencing pain from repetitive strain, workstations can be re-designed to reduce repetitive and strenuous movements. More detailed information and suggestions are located in the many other documents in OSH Answers or by asking the Inquiries Service.
Job design is also an important factor. Good job design accommodates an employee’s mental and physical abilities. In general, the following job design guidelines will help minimize or control workplace stress:
- the job should be reasonably demanding and provide the employee with at least a minimum of variety in job tasks
- the employee should be able to learn on the job and be allowed to continue to learn as their career progresses
- the job should comprise some area of decision-making that the individual can call his or her own.
- there should be some degree of social support and recognition in the workplace
- the employee should feel that the job leads to some sort of desirable future
Employers should assess the workplace for the risk of stress. Look for:
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V Compromised Quality Of Work
Stress has a domino effect on ones physical and mental well-being, which gradually reflects in their work rate. The quality of work that employees turn in gets affected when they are not at their productive best. The pressure may start to show itself in the form of missed deadlines and unfinished work. Even if they manage to finish the tasks on time, the final results may often be low in quality and unsatisfactory. The relentless stress and anxiety will also make them disengaged and make the work error-prone.
Turn Your Workplace Into A Healthy Stress
The role of an employer is to ensure the safety of its workforce. This includes their physical and mental well-being. With the above tips, you can create a work culture that revolves around maintaining a healthy and safe workplace.
If you believe offering flexible schedules will improve your work environment. download the Employer’s Guide to Workplace Wellnesstoday.
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