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Ways to Deal With Workplace Stress

February 18, 2020
Ways to Deal With Workplace Stress

 

Stress is ubiquitous in everyday life and occurs through many events – marriage, birth of a child, loss of a family member, and very often within the workplace.

 The Global Organization for Stress has compiled a list of stress facts:

  • 75% of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in the past month and nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year. – American Psychological Association.
  • 80% of workers feel stress on the job and nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress.  And 42% say their co-workers need such help. – American Institute of Stress.
  • Stress levels in the workplace are rising with 6 in 10 workers in major global economies experiencing increased workplace stress. – The Regus Group

According to the American Institute of Stress there are four main causes of workplace stress:

Main Causes of Workplace Stress
Why should your organization care?

People cannot walk away from their jobs simply because the experience is too stressful and “out of sight, out of mind” does not apply to most workers when returning home from work. Today’s technology of instant communication through e-mails and cell phones has seemed to gradually blur the boundaries between home-life and work-life. This constant connection leaves workers with the inability to recharge. There are many negative outcomes that have been associated with individuals experiencing and perceiving such stressful work situations:

How to deal with stress in the workplace

So how can you recharge and deal with workplace stress?

  • Unplug mentally from work after work hours, when possible. More importantly, have an open discussion about expectations during non-work hours with your supervisor and colleagues.

  • Practice Mindfulness.

  • Find something that motivates you intrinsically, which is a key for well-being. This can be starting a new novel you’ve been wanting to read or as easy as starting a new hobby.

What can the organization do to help?
  • Put into place employee wellness programs. Reports have shown:

    • The best-performing companies are 11 times more likely to offer holistic well-being policies than their lower-performing peers.

    • When organizations focus as much on well-being as they do on productivity, it results in a instantaneous increase in both productivity and health levels of workers.

  • Encourage an appropriate work-life balance.

    • Offer flexible work schedule.

    • Set expectations:

      • Time off is really time off. Honor an individual’s time off by not contacting them unless it’s a true emergency.

      • It’s a given that there will be times that long hours are needed, but organizations should not expect employees to work hard with long hours and weekends ALL the time.

These are not the end-all be-all solutions for increased employee well-being, but hopefully will open the topic to organizations and individuals who haven’t considered how the workplace can negatively affect themselves or their employees and organizational outcomes. Employees are essential to your organization's productivity, and engaging and encouraging employee well-being should be a vital part of any business strategy.

apply emotional intelligence at work

 

Jessica Petor Jessica Petor is a Research Analyst located at PSI's Pittsburgh office. She holds a Master of Science degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Northern Kentucky University.