Managing Workplace Stress

There are several job stress management techniques, which mainly focus on how to maintain high concentration levels throughout the day and how to keep cool under stress.

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Stress is the body's physical response to events that make a person feel under threat, thus destroying his/her balance. The body's automatic response to danger is to kick into high gear and enter into one of the following modes: fight, flight or freeze, also known as the stress response.

Statistics are not favourable

It is estimated that the average worker is interrupted seven times an hour and distracted up to 2.1 hours a day. 40% of workers who are employed at large organizations are going through a major corporate restructuring, which causes them uncertainty and stress. Finally, average business professionals have 30 to 100 projects on their plate. On the same page, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates that 29% of the U.S workers feel "quite a bit or extremely stressed," while 40% feel "very or extremely stressed." In fact, workplace stress makes employees anxious and irritable, thus losing their concentration, becoming unproductive, and being less motivated to complete their tasks.

Damaging effects of workplace stress

The pressure of deadlines and the large number of tasks can be a tremendous source of stress for workers. Managers need to divide duties and responsibilities so that employees can prioritize their work. Especially, when organizations downsize, workload can become extremely stressful as fewer people are required to complete more tasks.

Additionally, workload creates unfavorable workplace conditions, which lower employee performance and increase the fear of being laid off. This accumulated stress may also cause severe physical and emotional health issues such as exhaustion, insomnia, migraines, nausea, ulcer, blood pressure, chest pain, extreme anxiety, irritability, agitation, depression, low morale, isolation, and stressed relationships with family, friends, and co-workers.

Managing workplace stress

There are several job stress management techniques, which mainly focus on how to maintain high concentration levels throughout the day and how to keep cool under stress.

1. Prioritize

Workers should learn to prioritize their responsibilities and keep a balanced schedule. This will help them have time for personal and social activities as well, and feel responsible for their friends and family as much as they do for their work.

2. Anticipate

Business psychologist Sharon Melnick suggests that it is better to "act rather than react". Stressful situations at workplace activate the stress hormone, and if these situations are chronic, they lead to serious health problems, but also to low self-confidence and performance. Therefore, it is better to take control of a situation before it gets out of hand than let it become uncontrollable with all the negative consequences for one's health.

3. Take a break

Small breaks help the human body recharge and reach the level of energy supply that allows a person to work efficiently. When the energy levels are low, employees feel overwhelmed and underperform. Small breaks help the body to restore its balance and employees to increase their productivity levels.

4. Eat healthy and sleep enough

Low-sugar, high-protein diet included in small, regular meals during the day helps employees maintain high energy levels. Nuts, seeds, fruits and protein-rich foods balance blood sugar levels and control irritation. Similarly, lack of sleep makes people prone to stress.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 60 million Americans do not get sufficient sleep. Practically, this means that 18.8% of the US population cannot maintain emotional stability and cope with workplace stress.

5. Exercise

It is found that employees who exercise are more productive and they experience lower stress levels. Their overall mood is improved compared to the days they do not exercise and they manage their workload much better.

6. Be positive

Maintaining a positive attitude can help employees achieve organizational goals. In fact, workplace optimism is a competitive advantage because it motivates employees to improve their performance in order to achieve the organizational goals.

In conclusion, dealing with workplace stress can be a distinguishing factor between success and failure in the workplace. Stress affects the quality of interactions within the organization. Stress has a negative impact on organizational performance. Stress can make or break business relationships. So, at the end of the day, managing workplace stress can lead to meeting organizational goals.