Workplace stress is a part and parcel of life. Everyone at some point has felt overwhelmed or bogged down by work. However, experiencing prolonged stress can lead to hazardous situations. Hence, it is important to manage our stressors effectively and efficiently.
What is Job / Work Stress?
Job stress is defined as a physical and emotional response that occurs when an individual is faced with work demands that do not match their capabilities, resources, or knowledge. It also challenges their ability to cope with the pressure. In a nutshell, when a person is stretched beyond their limit and they are unable to cope with the situation, stress manifests.
Stress can be further bifurcated into distress and eustress. An individual under distress experiences negative effects physically and emotionally, whereas eustress has a positive influence on us. Often these concepts are mixed up by people.
It’s important that our work challenges us. Challenges energises and motivates us to build our skill set and expand our knowledge. It’s an important contributor towards productivity and job satisfaction. Hence a little bit of stress is good for you. However, when a challenge is beyond our capacity that is when distress festers. It leads to exhaustion and sets the stage for job failure, illness and/or injury.
What Are Workplace Stressors?
Every employee has different factors that influence their response situation at work. However, research has shown that there are few stressors that employees often report:
- Overload or underload of work
- Task monotony
- Lack of meaning in work
- Lack Autonomy
- Work hour or work timings
- Not being equipped with the right skill set
- Insufficient training
- Lack of appreciation
- Role ambiguity
- Job insecurity
- Lack of career advancement or development opportunities.
- Conflict with supervisors or co-worker
- Lack of support from supervisors or co-workers
- Discriminatory work environment
- Poor employee engagement and communication
How Does Stress Affect Me?
Prolonged work-stress exposure can lead to hazardous effects on your physical and psychological health. It is one of the biggest contributors toward sleep, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular problems. Stress levels influence our concentration and motivation levels. It also negatively affects our memory and decision-making processes.
From an employer’s perspective, a stressful work environment could lead to; high absenteeism, high turnover rate, poor productivity and performance, poor motivation, low morale, increased complaints, sick-leaves, and accidents amongst employees.
How To Tackle Workplace Stress?
While stress cannot be avoided in life, it is important that we learn how to manage it. So, here are few tips and tools that can help you tackle workplace stress:
- Before you start working, plan your day and get organized – Planning your day out will help you stay ahead and set clear expectations. Practicing organization would lead to less rushing in the morning as well as less hustling to get out at the end of the day. It would also increase your efficiency at work and help you avoid negative effects of clutter.
- Try to make your work environment as comfortable as possible – Physical discomfort can make you more reactive to stress. For example, if you are sitting uncomfortably all day long and work, you might have a sore back and be more irritable. Hence, it is important to create a comfortable and soothing workspace.
- Chunking vs Multitasking – While multitasking is one of the most common ways to maximize time. It is not the best technique for an individual’s speed, accuracy, or sanity. It often leads to feeling “frazzled”, due to split focus. Instead try another cognitive strategy like chunking. Set chunks of time to focus on one specific task and group similar tasks together and complete them during that specific chunk of time, without any interruptions. This would help you eliminate the adjustment time that one requires while jumping from one type of task to another. Ultimately you will be able to work with greater focus and efficiency.
- Step out for a short walk during your lunch break – Incorporating movement in your day will help you combat physical and mental effects of job stress. It will help you blow off some steam, improve your mood and make you more active.
- Establish boundaries at work – Creating clear boundaries would reduce the chances of you experiencing work-life conflict and stress that comes along with it.
- Choose healthy coping systems – Instead of fighting stress with alcohol, junk food and substance; opt for healthier choices like practising yoga or journaling.
- Ask for help when needed – If your workload is overwhelming talk to your supervisor about how to adjust it, for better productivity and performance.
- Take some time to recharge and replenish yourself – It is important to utilise your vacation days, so that you can come back to work feeling re-energised and perform at your best.
- Lastly, track your stressors to understand yourself better. Noting down stressors and your response to it, will help you identify patterns in your behaviour and stay on top of things.
At KelpHR we believe that having a safe, inclusive and happy workplace is the key to business transformation and growth and physical as well as mental health and wellness is the key to healthy and happy employees and workforces.
KelpHR was incorporated in 2013 to provide the best HR solutions to organizations, and to improve workplace culture across the board. Over the last 10 years, we have serviced more than 700 clients in India and a few overseas, across various industries in the areas of PoSH (prevention of sexual harassment at workplace), D, E & I (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) and EAP. But the common objective of all of these services is to build safer, happier, inclusive and productive workplaces.
For our services related to Prevention of Sexual Harassment (PoSH), Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (D,E &I) or Employee Assistance programs (EAP) do get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call +91-95001-29652 and we’d be able to help you with customized offerings suited to your organization.