Stress has long been understood to result from pressure in the world around us coupled with the strain that happens within us.
Things that don’t stress us out in some situations can pretty much stress us out in others.
That said, it’s pretty obvious that a workplace is a place where stressors abound and stress is rife.
Pinpointing what these stressors are is critical to effectively manage them and turning your office into a healthy workplace with happy employees.
In this article, we look at the very real problem of stress, what causes it in the workplace and offer 4 effective ways to properly manage it when it’s there.
What’s the big deal with stress?
Stress can be observed as a person’s reaction to the situations they encounter. It’s certainly reflecting on a person’s behaviour, feelings, mental state, and can even have obvious physical symptoms.
Everybody deals with stress in their own way, but basically, you know a person is stressed when they’re more erratic, irritable, and even aggressive coupled with a lowered drive for work and impaired functionality.
Even those that mask these things well will find their stress reflected in the quality of their work output.
The stressors that abound
There are far too many stressors in the workplace to discuss in one article, but there are several that are worth focusing on:
- The work itself. Having a heavy workload can’t be helped sometimes, it’s true. But it’s still critical to understand the exact pressure triggers that your employees have at work.
- The level of pressure. Again, this is something that can’t always be helped when the deadlines approach fast, but it does have a very significant effect on stress levels—always to the detriment of the person being pressured.
- The work environment. Employees place a lot of value in the work environment. This includes the people they work with and place they work at. If the workplace is messy and unsanitary and the coworkers unpleasant and gloomy, the stress levels rise rapidly. Pay extra attention to workplace washroom.
Take these all together and you have a recipe for disaster—especially if it all goes unnoticed and unaddressed. So how does one manage all of these? Here are the 4 best ways.
1. Identify the Specifics of These Stressors
When you’re caught up in the stress yourself, it’s very easy not to notice what’s causing it. Stress has a way of sneaking up on you.
While you are thinking that you are upset because your pen stopped working, you fail to realise that it is the inadequate workload and the approaching deadline what makes you break that pen in half.
If you’re in a position to do so, take the time to carefully observe what’s going on in the office.
Does the workload really mirror the stress felt by everyone? Is someone putting too much pressure on everyone else? Is the work area conducive to stress or productivity? The best way to answer these questions is to talk to the people working around you.
2. Acknowledge the Most Affected
Once you’ve identified what stressors exist and how these affect people specifically, the next step is to acknowledge those most affected.
It’s actually very effective when your boss shows that they know you’re under a lot of stress.
Acknowledging that your employee is doing their best when the conditions are not perfect means a lot.
It shows a great deal of care and concern that many people long for when under the weight of stress.
Again, the way to do this is to sit down and talk to these people.
3. Take Proactive Steps Where Possible
Don’t wait until you notice that your employees are crashing down under the weight of stress. Do something before it even starts to happen. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
You can do this simply by doing these things today:
- Make your workplace clean and comfortable for your workers.
- Think about their workload and deadlines and make sure they are reasonable.
- Spot the interpersonal issues and solve them in time.
- Take some steps that will help your employees get enough exercise and eat healthily.
All these things will help prevent stress before it even starts making problems around your workplace.
4. Set Up Breaks!
Lastly, taking much-needed breaks can easily relieve workplace stress. If possible, make the pauses long and truly distant from the stressors.
A trip to the park or even the spa might just be what the doctor ordered. If such big breaks simply aren’t possible, then little things like a surprise box of pizza or doughnuts (or both!) can do wonders.
The keys, really, centre around being more conscientious about what’s going on around you and reacting appropriately.
Again, it’s important to ask questions and talk to your coworkers. That done, deal with it with a touch of care and compassion. It goes a long way.
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