Workplace stress is a common experience that all of us experience at one time or the other. Most of the time, we can cope with this stress. Sometimes though it gets overwhelming and it affects our mental, emotional and even physical well-being. How do employers reduce stress at work?
Do you often feel anxious, irritable, depressed, or fatigued? Are having problems sleeping, or concentrating? Do you have frequent headaches, stomach issues, and a lowered sex drive? Are you withdrawing from social engagement, and relying too much on nicotine and alcohol? If you were experiencing a few or most of these signs, the chances are very high that you are dealing with some level of workplace stress and/or work-related burnout.
Take this questionnaire: https://bit.ly/3tcFHlM and see if you are indeed experiencing workplace stress, and then read on to understand what it is, and how you can cope with it and reduce stress at work.
To begin with, let’s at the most common causes of workplace stress identified by research studies:
- The fear of being fired/laid off – is the most common stressor
- The pressure to perform at optimum levels at all times
- The pressure to meet unreal and continually rising expectations
- Lack of job satisfaction
- No personal control over your work – what, how much, how it is to be done
If you are a manager or an employer, you can also consider some ways to reduce stress at work for all, and it will also benefit you. Here are a couple of things you can consider putting in place:
- Lead by example: be a positive role model, try not to let your anger show, practice what you preach, and take a short break now and again. Try to infuse variety and some fun elements into routine activities – like a walking meeting instead of the regular boardroom meetings etc.
- Communicate with your employees: discuss proposed work with them, listen to their suggestions and fears, give constructive feedback, and share clear information with the staff about their jobs and future. Respect the dignity of each employee.
- Introduce workplace wellness schemes and a zero-tolerance for harassment of any kind. Introduce social activities to view work as a fun place they want to come to, rather than space where they have to be. Reduce impossible deadlines and motivate with rewards and praise.
Provide a private space, where employees can go and spend a few minutes just chilling out, and recovering lost energy. Usually difficult to find this space in an established office, but worth considering where possible.
Strategies to manage workplace stress and reduce stress at work, simple yet effective ways to combat this stress:
Reach out for help: If you are stressed out and feeling overwhelmed, sometimes the easiest way to feel better, is to talk to someone about it. This does not mean that you ask or expect the other person to fix your problem. What you need is someone who will let you blow off some steam or cry on their shoulder – in effect, a good listener. Sometimes it helps to share with an empathetic colleague who is not likely to use it against you. A friend, a social contact, a therapist are also excellent and relatively safer options.
Focus on your health and nutrition: This is extremely important and often neglected during stressful periods. You do not need to do a complete lifestyle change to achieve this. Simple steps like cutting the use of nicotine, and alcohol, increasing the amount of Omega 3 rich foods, and bringing in some exercise can go a long way
Sleep: A crucial must-have. Chances are very high that the more stressed out you are, the worse your sleep gets. The tragedy here is that you get trapped in a vicious cycle of high stress, poor sleep, impaired judgement, low work output – high stress. So the lesson here is to ensure you are getting your quota of good quality sleep. Use meditation http://mayocl.in/3raXxUl and https://bit.ly/39BLM3q.
Time management: This is something you must do right away to bring you some peace and a feeling of being in control of your life. You need to prioritize, organize your day, and set boundaries (personal life on personal time and work only during work hours, or at fixed and set times if during your out-of-work hours). Learn to delegate and to say no
Replace bad habits with good habits: as with all bad habits, trying to break them is initially more stressful, but once you are free of these bad habits, you will find that your stress automatically decreases. First of all, resist the need for perfectionism, learn to let go a little bit and start compromising when possible. Try to look for humour in a situation rather than getting angry or stressed. Clear up your overcrowded desk makes you feel less stressed to look at a clear and organized desk.
Be proactive: if you are feeling stressed out, try not to take that personally. Talk to your senior, look for ways to alleviate your stress, and increase your job satisfaction – this could mean requesting a transfer. Take a break from work, and go and try to do something that is both relaxing and refreshing.
Remember, workplace stress is likely to repeat often, and learning to cope with it, is a good strategy for your mental and physical well-being. I hope you found this article ‘reduce stress at work’ useful. Let me know if I can help and contact me here.