Stress is a term that is commonly used today but has become increasingly difficult to define. It shares, to some extent, common meanings in both the biological and psychological sciences. Stress typically describes a negative concept that can have an impact on one’s mental and physical well-being. Stress is normal. Everyone feels stress related to work, family, decisions, your future, and more. Stress is both physical and mental. It is caused by major life events such as illness, the death of a loved one, a change in responsibilities or expectations at work, and job promotions, loss, or changes.
We’ve all been stressed out at work or know someone that is. Whether it’s the pressure to do more, take on extra jobs, added responsibility, or working long hours on a project that’s due – we’ve all felt the heaviness of stress. If you’re feeling the pressure, you’re not alone! We all need to find ways to reduce stress so that the workplace can be more efficient and productive.
Here are some interesting facts about stress:
- 1 out of 5 workers are at risk for stress related health problems (1)
- 43% of adults suffer from adverse health effects due to stress… ultimately responsible for 50% of employee burnout and 40% of employee turnover (2)
- 80% of people feel stress on the job, and nearly 40% say they need help in managing stress (3)
Symptoms of Stress
Some of the symptoms of stress at workplace are as follows-
- Absenteeism, escaping from work responsibilities, arriving late, leaving early, etc.
- Deterioration in work performance, more of error prone work, memory loss, etc.
- Cribbing, over-reacting, arguing, getting irritated, anxiety, etc.
- Deteriorating health, more of accidents, etc.
- Improper eating habits (over-eating or under-eating), excessive smoking and drinking, sleeplessness, etc.
Reasons that lead to workplace stress:-
- Discrimination in pay/salary structure
- Strict rules and regulations
- Ineffective communication
- Peer pressure
- Goals conflicts/goals ambiguity
- More of centralized and formal organization structure
- Less promotional opportunities
- Lack of employees participation in decision-making
- Excessive control over the employees by the managers Monotonous nature of job
- Unsafe and unhealthy working conditions
- Lack of confidentiality
- Crowding etc.
How to manage stress in the workplace?
1. Time Management
It is a problem that almost everyone would recognise; too much to do and too little time. Whatever your circumstances you have inevitably experienced this dilemma. There is no solution to this problem but the following might help;
Have realistic expectations. In other words, know your limits. People often take on more than can humanly be done!
2. Get active
Research has shown that some exercise programs can help reduce anxiety. By improving your fitness, exercise may also help increase your tolerance of stressful situations. Even a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day most days of the week, as recommended in the National Physical Activity Guidelines, may help to combat stress while keeping you in good physical shape and condition.
3. Don’t Procrastinate
Procrastination only breeds stress! It increases the amount of work you need to do to at a given situation. Do the most important tasks first and eliminate the things that take less priority.
4. Get organized
Keep track of your projects and deadlines by making a list of what’s urgent. Decide what matters most and what can wait.
5. Take 5-minute breaks for a good laugh
Humour and laughter play a very important role in reducing and managing stress. Laughter reduces blood stress hormones such as adrenaline, the cortisone, the epinephrine and dopamine, while increasing the levels of hormones that promote health such as Endorphin and neurotransmitter.