How to deal with stress at work?
Stress relating to work is a common factor among anyone and everyone who has ever had a job. From employees to employers and even one-person businesses, work-related stress is a common denominator. Stress from work can come in various forms ranging from pressure to meet deadlines and set targets, difficulty in relating effectively with coworkers, personal challenges affecting work productivity and output, poor working environment, and poor organizational structure, among others.
When stress from work becomes too intense and difficult to handle, it can have a long-lasting effect on mental, physical, and emotional health. If not handled properly and effectively, it could be more permanent; death. Apart from these long-lasting effects, work-related stress is harmful because it tremendously reduces productivity. It could also serve as a trigger for depression and cause severe mental health problems. It also promotes unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits such as overeating, smoking, excessive alcohol drinking, etc.
How to deal with stress at work is one thing most employees are trying to find out. Some of these techniques on how to deal with stress at work will be examined below. But first, we take a look at some of the causes of stress at work.
Causes of Stress at Work
Conflicts with coworkers
In human relations, conflict is one of the inevitable things. It is a constant feature of human interaction. This is simple: every human being is unique and different. We do not all think, feel or reason the same way, so conflict will inevitably arise. It could be a conflict between colleagues at work or between a superior and a subordinate. When any form of conflict arises, it is bound to increase stress at work. It has been found that stress reduces a person’s ability to partake in conflict resolution. This means that when a person is stressed, it becomes more difficult to avoid conflict because they may unknowingly lash out at their co-workers or take out their frustrations on them.
Long working hours
Work hours do not refer only to the time spent doing work-related tasks. It comprises all the time spent on work-related tasks, commuting, and traveling, all of which have huge impacts on people’s health, directly or indirectly. Working ten or more hours per day or 40 hours per week can induce work stress. Long working hours not only cut into the time that should have been spent in relaxing and fun activities, but it also encourages the excessive use of narcotics and stimulants, which are detrimental to health.
Working with really tight deadlines can cause immense work related stress leading to feelings of being overwhelmed. Tight deadlines create a feeling of urgency and pressure on a person’s emotional, physical, and mental health. Pushing every new task as “urgent” also disrupt busy schedules and exerts unrealistic pressure on individuals. It makes our work vague and confusing: priorities become unclear as we constantly shift our attention to new tasks, making it difficult to know what matters. Over time, this constant sense of urgency leads to exhaustion and disillusionment.
The word “excessive” itself already tells us that this is a recipe for stress. There is only so much that a person can handle, and when the workload becomes too much, the feeling of being overwhelmed and stressed is inevitable.
Pressure to perform well
Employees are always under pressure to perform well. They are constantly given targets, deadlines, and tasks alongside periodic performance reviews and evaluations. These culminate in too much pressure that can lead to stress at work.
How can Employers Reduce Stress in the Workplace?
It is essential to look at how employers can manage stress in the workplace to increase individual employee productivity and the overall wellbeing of the organization.
Demonstrate that you trust and value your employees
Employers can manage stress in the workplace by continuously and repeatedly showing that they have high trust and value for their employees. Words of affirmation and reassurance, once in a while as especially when there’s an increase in workload, would go a long way in boosting an employee’s confidence and morale to do the job.
Decorate the office with plants
It has been found that having flowers around the office dramatically improves people’s moods and reduces the likelihood of stress-related depression. Flowers and ornamental plants increase positive energy levels and help people feel secure and relaxed. This is another way employers can help manage stress in the workplace.
Arrange work stress management training
One way employers can invest in the well-being of their employees is by organizing essential and life-changing training such as this one. Work stress management training will not only improve how individual employees respond to stress, it will also contribute to the overall attainment of the organization’s goal.
Address conflicts in a positive way
The conflict management system in place in an organization goes a long way to show how conflict is addressed. As we’ve learned previously, conflict in any human relationship is inevitable and bound to happen at one point or the other. Organizing conflict management training for employees is also a good way employers can reduce stress in the workplace.
Install a ping pong table in the office
The opposite of stress is fun. Alongside getting a decent amount of sleep and exercise, ping-pong is a surprisingly effective way of dealing with stress in the workplace. This fun activity not only helps to relax our brains but also aids in overcoming anxiety and dealing with work-related stress.
Developing and employing a sense of humor is a great coping mechanism for managing stress in the workplace. Humor helps you look at issues in a different light, build resilience to stress as well as improve your overall physical and emotional health.
Provide healthy snacks
One typical response to stress is what is called “stress eating.” And stress eating is primarily associated with junk and unhealthy food, which leads to obesity and could lead to serious health challenges. So, one method employers can employ to manage stress in the workplace is by providing healthy snack options in and around the office.
How to Handle Stress at Work?
The following are some tips on how to handle stress at work effectively.
Take regular breaks
Number one stress tip for work; Everyone needs a break, including Superman. Taking breaks at intervals is one way of handling work stress. Taking regular breaks does not only mean taking time off work or going on vacations; it includes taking five minutes breaks for every one hour of work you put in at your desk. This could also be taking short walks around the office or to and from the restroom to ensure blood is flowing to the right places.
Stay away from social media while working
Except your work is directly tied to the use of social media, the use of social media while working is a terrible idea and can induce stress at work. Social media can be used in leisure time and for recreational purposes. Apart from making you distracted, reducing your productivity and concentration, it is very addictive. You could get carried away on social media, and a five minutes romp on the streets of Instagram can end up as two hours if you are not careful.
This has to be the most crucial stress tip for work. The importance of sleep to the optimum functioning of the brain can never be overemphasized. If you can’t get at least eight hours of beauty sleep, try to squeeze in six. Lack of sleep results in many things, all of which culminates in a stress-filled life.
Keep in mind that you cannot control everything
Unless you have five pairs of hands and ten pairs of eyes, you cannot control everything. Having a to-do list in order of priority and urgency is a great way to stay on top of your and at all times. This is another very important stress tip for work.
Do not multitask
Multitasking is good, but it is also a recipe for stress and potential disaster. You can handle workplace stress by focusing on one task at a time and moving on to the next as soon as you are done. Having a to-do list comes in handy too.
Build positive relationships with other employees
Every employee spends at least seven to eight hours at work. That’s a long period to be in a hostile environment. Building positive relationships with other employees in the same office will create a conducive environment for work.
When in doubt, ask questions. If you are assigned a task, and you are unsure how to go about it, rather than stressing over it and putting yourself under unnecessary pressure, ask for further clarification from your boss or help from your colleagues.
Benefits of Effective Work Stress Management
Work stress management refers to how to handle stress at work. This means that stress is inevitable but handling it effectively is possible and your responsibility. However, work stress management is not a one-time event; it is a long and continuous process that becomes a part of organizational culture.
Higher employee satisfaction
A happy employee is a productive one. There’s no lie about that. When a person works in a conducive and pleasant environment with good organizational structure and ethics, as well as adequate incentives and remunerations, there is maximum employee satisfaction.
It is not a secret that stress dramatically reduces productivity. When an employee figure out how to manage stress in the workplace, their level of productivity dramatically increases.
Reduced staff turnover
Happy and satisfied employees have a higher chance of sticking by the organization. Stressed and burnt-out employees are always on the lookout for another job.