If you or your employees seemed stressed at work, you know you should do something about it. But perhaps you’ve tried a few things and aren’t sure what to do next. We’ve talked about a few ways in our previous posts, and offer here some additional strategies for managing stress in the workplace.
What Causes Workplace Stress?
First, let’s look at some of the potential contributors to workplace stress. According to an American Institute of Stress study, participants reported that their main causes of stress in the workplace are: heavy workload (46%), people issues (20%), juggling of work vs. personal lives (20%), and lack of job security (6%). Other factors reported in similar surveys included little or no opportunities for career advancement, a lower salary, work they find neither engaging nor satisfying, and the lack of control over decisions concerning work.
Chronic Workplace Stress Can Create Serious Consequences
While short-term stress can be tolerated, it is the long-term stress that takes a toll on workers, creating health and social problems and poor work performance. Chronic stress can lead to depression, obesity, and heart disease, and workers can choose unhealthy ways of dealing with it, including eating an unhealthy diet, smoking, drinking or substance abuse.
Strategies for Managing Stress in the Workplace: What Employees Can Do
- Keep a journal of stressful times. Note what caused the stress and your reaction to it. How did you feel when it happened? What did it cause you to do? What would be a healthy way to react?
- Create a healthy response pattern. Rather than turning to food or other substances, exercise, go for a walk, or take a break from work for a few minutes to do something else.
- Walk away. If a co-worker tries to engage you in an argument, it is perfectly acceptable to walk away. Disengage from high-stress situations by removing yourself from the conversation. If it is a work-related problem, table it and discuss it when you are both calm and in control.
- Learn relaxation strategies. Practice meditation or controlled breathing exercises that can help you de-stress in a stressful situation.
- Set boundaries. Create work hours and separate those from personal time with firm boundaries. Don’t take calls or check email during lunch or dinner time. When a co-worker tries to interrupt and gobble up your work time, don’t feel as if you have to give in; stick to your boundaries with a polite excuse, like “I don’t have time right now to chat.”
- Enjoy your time off. Leave work at work, and don’t bring work with you into other parts of your life. Take all of your vacation time and use your weekends to play. Be present in the moment. Work will be there when you return—now refreshed.
- Engage your manager. You don’t need to endure stress alone. Talk to your manager about ways you would like to reduce the amount of stress in the workplace, whether it’s your personal goal or your wish to share ideas that can help the entire team. Present an action plan rather than a list of complaints and you will see better results.
Learn Workplace Stress Reduction Strategies With Kinetos Consulting
How can employers create strategies for managing stress in the workplace? Contact Kinetos Consulting. We offer Stress Management Workshops and other services designed to give you the tools and action plans to help reduce workplace stress at your company. We want to help you to have a healthy and happy work environment that will boost employee engagement and productivity.