Helping employees manage workplace stress
| September 20, 2013
According to OutofStress.com, workplace stress costs nearly $300 billion annually, due to rehabilitation, absenteeism from work and health care. Although some workplace stress is normal, when employees face excessive stress in the workplace, their physical, emotional and mental health may be negatively impacted.
As managing stress becomes a more serious problem in the workforce, many employers now offer assistance to help employees reduce stress and improve overall workplace health. By teaching employees simple techniques for managing stress, companies may enjoy improved employee satisfaction, fewer problems with absenteeism and better overall workplace health.
Common Symptoms of Workplace Stress
Both company managers and employees need to be aware of the common symptoms of workplace stress. When the warning signs of stress are overlooked and ignored, bigger problems — including depression and other mental health problems — may arise. Chronic workplace stress may lead to emotional and physical health issues, along with interfering with job satisfaction and performance. The following are common symptoms of workplace stress:
- Increased absenteeism, leaving work early, arriving at work late, etc.
- Arguments, irritation and excessive anxiety
- Work performance deteriorates
- Increase in accidents or increase in health problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Excessive fatigue on the job
- Stomach problems, headaches and difficulty sleeping
- Lack of interest in work activities
While managers and employees both need to be aware of these symptoms, companies should never wait until they see symptoms of workplace stress to educate employees on how they can manage stress. Teaching employees proper techniques for managing stress can reduce these symptoms before they become a problem.
Simple Techniques for Managing Stress
Many companies now offer employee assistance programs that teach simple techniques for managing stress. Some of the top techniques taught today include the following:
- Organization and prioritization — Organization and prioritization can help employees more effectively manage workplace stress. Learning to organize and prioritize allows employees to take control of their situation, reducing the stress they feel. Basic time management and task management tips help with organization and prioritization. Some of these tips include creating a well-balanced schedule, taking short breaks, prioritizing tasks on the job and breaking down overwhelming projects into smaller steps.
- Lead a healthy lifestyle — Another simple technique for managing stress is to lead a healthy lifestyle. Encouraging employees to pursue a healthy lifestyle, both on the job and at home, can significantly reduce workplace stress. A healthy lifestyle includes eating well, exercising regularly and getting regular sleep.
- Emotional intelligence — Emotional intelligence enables employees to effectively manage workplace stress by focusing on using and managing emotions in constructive, positive ways. Teaching employees how to improve their emotional intelligence can help diffuse workplace stress.According to HelpGuide.org, emotional intelligence includes mastering skills like recognizing stress, staying connected to individual emotions and meeting difficult challenges with humor.
- Eliminate bad habits that cause stress — Many employees experience a higher level of workplace stress due to bad habits. Teaching employees to eliminate these self-sabotaging behaviors offers them an opportunity to reduce their way of thinking and the stress they feel on the job. Some of these bad habits that should be eliminated include negative thinking, perfectionism and sloppy work habits.
These are only a few of the simple techniques that employees can be taught to help them better manage stress at the workplace. Along with these techniques, managers can also take measures that help reduce employee stress. When managers and employees work together to manage workplace stress, everyone enjoys the benefits.
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