In the work environment, the little stress as a result of new tasks and challenges is not harmful, but even useful. It makes an employee mobilize physical and intellectual forces, allows to quickly solve complex tasks, and increases labor productivity.
On the contrary, prolonged stress can lead to serious health problems, adversely affect the result of work and relationships with colleagues, and its final point is burnout syndrome. In many cases, it also leads to alcoholism and drug addiction. If an employee has a family, he/she will probably need an inpatient rehab for couples in order to get rid of addiction, stress, and get back to a normal life.
If one of your employees becomes distracted, chaotic, easily irritated, or, on the contrary, becomes prone to apathy, if they can no longer concentrate, successfully cope with their duties, and are increasingly sick, most likely, the reason is in excessive stress.
In today’s vibrant world, workplace stress has become a global disease that harms not only the health of workers but also the productivity of enterprises. What are its main causes and how to reduce it?
The most common causes of stress in the workplace
The American Institute of Stress, after interviewing American job seekers, came to the conclusion that most often – in 46% of cases – stress in the workplace is caused by excessive workload, too long working hours, and lack of proper rest – namely, the dissonance between those put forward in relation to requirements for the employee and their internal resources. 28% of cases are relations in the team, i.e., psycho-emotional or psychosocial factors, and in 20% of cases – an imbalance between work and personal life.
What an employer can do
The short answer is to identify the main stress factors (stressors) in your company and eliminate or reduce them to a minimum. However, an individual approach is important in stress management, since each person has a threshold of stress: the same task seems to be a fascinating test for some people or a heavy burden for the others. Here are some suggestions.
Keep track of work distribution, do not overload your employees, and clearly define their direct responsibilities and degree of responsibility.
Take care of a favorable psychological climate in the team, help resolve emerging conflict situations.
Take care of a comfortable and cozy work environment in which stressors such as noise, inappropriate lighting, and / or room temperature are eliminated.
Encourage workers to use short rest breaks; if necessary, do not refuse additional weekends.
Encourage workers for what they have done materially and morally.
In case of problems, take the time to have a confidential conversation with the employee to find out the causes of their stress and find a solution together.
Support your employee if their stress has personal reasons – health problems, family complications, etc.
Sometimes it is also very important to help your employee’s loved ones. For example, if your worker’s partner has alcohol or drug problems, help them find a drug rehab for families or cover a family therapist.
10 steps to reduce stress
By understanding the psychophysiological mechanism of stress and learning how to manage it, each of us can successfully reduce stress in our workplace and in everyday life – firstly, by minimizing the external causes of stress, and secondly, by mastering simple techniques for its internal control and maintenance their resources.
1. Start with a daily time planning, eliminating unnecessary action and “time thieves.”
2. Sort your to-do list by priority and focus on what’s most important at the moment.
3. Do not waste time on work that a less skilled worker can do – delegate it.
4. Feel free to ask your colleagues for help – social support in stressful situations is invaluable.
5. Make your work environment as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. The chaos on the desk increases stress, while the ascetic order, warm lighting, home plants, or nice photos will calm and help to concentrate.
6. Have enough time for sleep – this significantly reduces stress, and a well-rested person makes any task easier and faster.
7. Do not start drinking or using drugs in order to cope with work problems. In time, it can lead to treatment in drug rehab for married couples.
8. Allocate time in everyday life for short breaks – to get out of a chair, give rest to your eyes, stretch your muscles, go out into the fresh air for a second, have a cup of coffee, and talk with colleagues.
9. Inhale calm – exhale stress. If you feel that stress is increasing, take 10 slow deep breaths through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
10. Smile! Involved by a smile, facial muscles send signals to those centers of the brain that are responsible for the release of the “hormone of happiness” endorphin and can reduce the level of the stress hormone cortisol. In addition, a smile brings another smile.