Bonus: Kick Your Bad Habits
Managing stress at work is partially about your mindset. Your outlook can have a huge impact on your ability to cope with everyday stressors. Keep them in check so they dont become major sources of negative stress. Here are a few tips to change your mindset by break the bad habits that are holding you back:
- Stay positive.
- One way to do this is to express gratitude. Its surprising how much different your outlook is when you make a point to recognize the people and things in your life that youre lucky to have.
Accept Failure Keep Comments Constructive
Generally speaking, a large workplace stressor is the fear of failure. Let employees know that everyone makes mistakes and help managers develop strategies to find logical solutions for problems. When too much time is spent playing the blame game, nothing gets done and those who have slipped up feel hesitant to participate in the future.
Smart Ways Employers Can Reduce Stress In The Workplace
How many days in your business last year were lost to sickness absence? According to the HSE, 45% of these lost working days was due to stress . Mental illness, including anxiety, depression and stress related conditions, is the leading cause of sickness and absence from work.
There has never been a more important time for small employers to make reducing stress a top priority.
Shaw Gibbs often get asked by our clients to help them with managing stress related sickness absence cases. We have drawn up a list of our top 5 tips to help small employers prevent / reduce stress in the workplace.
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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.
How To Reduce Stress At Work
The World Health Organization has referred to stress as the 21st Century epidemic. About 33% of adults in the United States have reported feeling extreme stress and more than 70% stated that this affects them in both their physical and mental health. Lets explore how to reduce stress at work.
According to The American Institute of Stress, the job, as well as issues related to the work environment, are the main causes of stress.
Stress is the bodys physical, mental and emotional reaction to adapt and respond to changes, whether they are positive or negative. People can experience stress from what happens day by day in their environment, in their bodies or even in their thoughts.
This reaction is generated by the autonomic nervous system of the human body, resulting in psychological changes that allow the person to be attentive, motivated and avoid danger. Known as fight-or-flight, this mechanism is an emergency physiological response that has the purpose of preparing the body for physical action or run away .
However, when a person is constantly facing challenges without rest or the possibility of relaxing, this can turn negative, generating excessive tension.
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How Employees Can Deal With Stress At Work
Some symptoms that will tell if you are going through anxiety at workplace are physical and include pains, head and stomach aches, fatigue, eating and sleeping disorders. Other signs are cognitive and include for example, a difficulty to concentrate or make decisions, think or remember things. Finally, you may suffer from emotional symptoms such as feeling sad, tense or angry.
If you have detected some of the mentioned signs you may be suffering from work stress. Luckily, there are techniques and actions you can take to reduce it. The American Psychological Association proposes some:
Track your stressors: Keep a diary where you can identify what situations causing you stress, what you feel and how you react to them. This can help you find patterns in the causes and your reactions.
Develop healthy responses: Try to make healthy choices when you feel the tension grows. Some options are physical activity, time to hobbies, reading, going to concerts or playing with your family. Achieving good sleep quality also helps manage stress try to limit caffeine and minimize stimulating activities at night.
Establish boundaries: Set schedules to carry out work tasks at home, such as limiting time for emails or moments to answer the phone.
Time to disconnect: To avoid burnout, it is important that you take rest and relaxation times to return to your pre-stress functioning levels.
Relax: Apply relaxation techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing or mindfulness.
Drink Alcohol In Moderation And Avoid Nicotine
Alcohol temporarily reduces anxiety and worry, but too much of it can cause anxiety when it subsides. Drinking to reduce stress at work can ultimately lead to alcohol abuse and dependence.
Similarly, smoking may have a calming effect when you feel stressed and overwhelmed, but nicotine is a powerful stimulant – leading to higher, not lower, anxiety levels.
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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.
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.
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Rely On A Strong Support Network
Keep in touch with trusted friends and family members to help cope with stressful work situations.
If youre struggling with an especially challenging work week, try asking parent friends if they can help out with carpooling your kids to school on certain days.
Having people you can rely on during the tough times can alleviate some of the built-up tension.
Impact Of Workplace Stress
Workers get stressed often and reduce productivity in the workplace. Positive work environments have been linked to decreased levels of employee anxiety and depression, along with lower rates of turnover among employees. In addition, when workers feel comfortable at their jobs they are more likely to experience less conflict on a daily basis, reduce feelings of isolation from other team members or coworkers and establish effective support systems for dealing with difficult problems that arise throughout the day. All these reasons contribute to reduced levels of stress in the workforce which results in increased job satisfaction and engagement within your company culture as well as better business performance overall.
In conclusion, reduce professional anxiety by creating positive work cultures that encourage cooperation between workers while also providing ample opportunities for growth inside and outside an organizations walls.
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Major Stressors That Lead To Burnout In The Workplace
Various situations, environments, and personal factors contribute to stress in the workplace. Stressors can include external pressures such as:
- Previous mental health concerns
More specifically, research points to the following direct causes of burnout in the workplace:
- Work overload: When workers have too much work to complete or not enough resources to complete tasks assigned to them
- Lack of control: When workers are so overworked, impeding their work-life balance and taking away their autonomy for decision making
- Insufficient rewards: When workers are not being rewarded or acknowledged for their work
- Breakdown in the community: Poor relationships at work
- Absence of fairness: When people feel they are not being treated fairly
- Value conflict: When peoples personal values conflict with the organizations values
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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Organize & Plan Ahead
A messy space can be stressful all by itself. Organizing your workspace can induce a more relaxing and productive workday. Plan your day ahead to efficiently tackle your duties and avoid stress caused by unpreparedness. This may come more naturally to personalities like detail-oriented planner C-types. In contrast, more spontaneous and big-picture-oriented personalities, like I-types, may have to work harder to achieve this.
Focus On Stress Reduction With A Wellness Program
Creating wellness programs are a hot topic these days in human resources. We are beginning to understand how employee wellness impacts our workplace, and thats a great thing. Wellness programs affect our company in a variety of ways through reducing stress, creating stronger employees, and cutting down on costly healthcare expenses.
Wellness doesnt mean shaming anyone who doesnt fit the standard of health. It means helping everyone feel comfortable, make changes that are on par with their abilities, and creating a healthier team. Many companies fail when they impose a wellness program thats too rigid. Create a plan that makes everyone feel welcome to invest in themselves and see results.
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What Causes Workplace Stress
Although some jobs are more stressful than others, most employees experience workplace stress at some point. According to the APA, some common work-related stressors are low salaries, few opportunities for growth or advancement, uninteresting or unchallenging work, a lack of social support, a lack of power over your career, and conflicting or unclear expectations.
Other common causes of workplace stress include excessive workloads problems with co-workers, supervisors, or customers poor work-life balance and lack of job security .
Introduce Workplace Wellness Schemes
It has been said time and time again, but exercise and a healthy lifestyle is extremely important when it comes to combating workplace related stress. Employee wellness schemes, such as arranging for a discount at local gyms for your employees or simply organising a lunchtime running club is a good way to help employees unwind and feel better about themselves.
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Dance Like No One Is Watching
Turn on your favorite music library app and dance like no one is watching.
Shake your head, swivel your hips, jump, twirl, and do a booty shake.
Dancing is a fantastic stress reliever! And while you are dancing, sing your heart out! You will be surprised at how quickly your start smiling and even laughing.
You forget that you were feeling overwhelmed and stressed because you are bopping around to your favorite 80s pop song.
You begin to relive the memories of how that song made you feel when you first heard it.
Create A Culture Of Acceptance
During the pandemic, the United States experienced some of the worst divisions in history. For HR, tasks like discussing politics in the office with respect are primary objectives. In order to avoid conflict and workplace hostility, it is best to encourage trust, diplomacy, and respect when discussing difficult topics.
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Spend Time With Your Pet
Having a pet may help reduce stress and improve your mood.
When you cuddle or touch your pet, your body releases oxytocin a hormone thats linked to positive mood .
Plus, studies show that pet owners especially those who have dogs tend to have greater life satisfaction, better self-esteem, reduced levels of loneliness and anxiety, and more positive moods .
Having a pet may also help relieve stress by giving you purpose, keeping you active, and providing companionship.
Although stress is an unavoidable part of life, being chronically stressed takes a toll on your physical and mental health.
Fortunately, several evidence-based strategies can help you reduce stress and improve your overall psychological well-being.
Exercise, mindfulness, spending time with a pet, minimizing screen time, and getting outside more often are all effective methods.
Encourage Your Workers To Track Their Stressors
When you track what makes you stressed out, you can begin to see patterns, anticipate stress, and create coping mechanisms. Give your employees a journal where they can track when they feel stressed. After about 2-4 weeks of following their stress, give them instructions to read through their entries. From there you can identify patterns and help them create coping mechanisms that will mitigate those stressors. If they enjoy the insight they get from tracking their stress, let them know that they can repeat this activity. If they do the exercise at different times of the year, they will get even more accurate results.
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Bring Some Diversions Into The Office
The team that plays together, works better together.
There are an infinite number of fun activities you can bring in to reduce workplace stress, whether theyre permanent fixtures or for a special occasion. Here are a few ideas:
Ping pong table
It may sound counterintuitive to bring diversions into a place of work, but allowing your employees to let loose during the day will help them deal with stress in the workplace and boost employee productivity and morale.
Listen To Music On The Drive Home
Listening to music offers many benefits and can be an effective way to relieve stress before, during, and after work. Playing an uplifting song while you make breakfast can help you start the day off feeling better prepared to interact with the people in your life. Likewise, combating the stress of a long day with your favorite music on the drive home can help you wind down and feel less stressed when you get there.
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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: