Workplace Stress: What it is & How to Manage It

Workplace stress is a problem that will continue to grow in the coming years, given the increased competition, high-performance expectations, and longer working hours, as anticipated by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its 2016 work Stress at work: a collective challenge. But to what extent does job stress affect employee performance and company results?

What is workplace stress?

Workplace stress is the physical and emotional response to damage caused by an imbalance between an individual’s perceived demands and the perceived resources and capacities to cope with those demands.

Implications for job redesign speak of workplace stress when job demands are high and the ability to control them is low. In contrast, other current links stress discrepancies between expectations and the actual situation.

Workplace Stress Causes

Although suffering the effects of stress will vary from person to person, research agrees that some factors drive this pathology. In this sense, we can point out the following stressors in the company:

  • The physical environment. It refers to external aspects of the physical environment, such as noise, vibration, lighting, temperature, humidity, etc.
  • The demands of the job. The work activity can generate stress: an excessive work shift, task overload, and exposure to high occupational hazards.
  • The characteristics of the tasks. The adequacy between the worker’s abilities and the requirements of a position, the style of communication between the leader and the team, the degree of autonomy over the work, or the complexity of the functions are also factors to consider.
  • Role performance. The greater responsibility of an intermediate or managerial position and the ambiguity regarding the distribution of roles or conflicts between colleagues also lead to the appearance of work-related stress situations.
    Interpersonal and group relationships. It is about relationships between subordinates, superiors, peers, customers, and suppliers.
  • Career development. Those employees who do not feel secure in their positions, are stuck in the same position or perceive promotions approved by management as unfair may experience increased stress levels.
  • New technologies. On the one hand, digital non-natives must face the challenge of managing the changing new technologies; on the other, their high connectivity also requires constant attention that can overwhelm workers.
  • The organizational structure or climate. A highly centralized system, an overly bureaucratic process, or authoritarian or absent leadership can also cause stress at work.
  • External factors. We cannot forget other causes of the individual’s personal life that, although unrelated to the workplace, will also affect the sphere of work.

Consequences of Workplace Stress

It is essential to bear in mind that stress is adaptive: being exposed to a moderate level of stress is convenient for maintaining a vital tone, being awake, not getting bored, and facing life’s challenges with energy.

Stress at work can be positive when it occurs at low intensity, allowing professionals to stay active and alert. However, negative consequences arise when these levels are exceeded and it becomes a pathology. What are these harms of work stress?

Detriments for employees:

  • Sleeping problems.
  • Anxiety.
  • Inability to relax or concentrate.
  • Increased risk of having an accident at work.
  • Decreased interest in work.
  • Higher risk of substance abuse.
  • Deterioration of the physical state and overweight.
  • Higher incidence of heart disease, coronary disease, diabetes, or musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Burnout or exhaustion syndrome.
  • Depression with anxiety, low self-esteem, irascibility, and poor concentration.

Detriments for the company:

  • Increase in work accidents.
  • Increase in absenteeism and presenteeism rates.
  • Growth of the staff turnover rate.
  • Decrease in the degree of motivation and satisfaction of the staff.
  • Decrease in the involvement and commitment of human capital.
  • Negative brand reputation.
  • Less interest of professionals in recruitment processes.
  • Decrease in productivity.
  • Fall in profits and economic losses.

Therefore, workplace stress is not an issue to be taken lightly.

How To Manage Workplace Stress?

It is essential to manage your stress at work or severely hamper your productivity and relations with your colleagues. Use some of these methods to relieve stress at your workplace. These key 5 tips to alleviate your work stress will surely help

Identify Stressors

It is crucial to unearth the factors that cause stress to you at work. Is it your desk? Is there enough light? These might feel trivial, but these could add significant stress to your work life. These small factors can cause severe stress, especially when you have deadlines, new assignments, important meetings, etc.

Counter Stress In Healthy Ways

It is easy to stress-eat or develop a bad habit, such as smoking or drinking. Refrain from doing that and focus on eating healthy, meditating, and exercising. These will help you get good-quality sleep, relax your mind and body, and alleviate some of your stress.

Set Limits

Thanks to mobile and many other technologies, most employees are always available online. While this may be alright for some folks, it is bound to cause stress thinking about work all the time. Try and relax your mind by detaching after you log out. Pick up a hobby or go for a run, and do not think of work. Your mind needs to relax too.

Relax And Rejuvenate

When did you last take a vacation? If you have to think about it hard, it probably was long ago. Go on an extended vacation, and spend some time with your friends and family. Take a mini-vacation if you can’t go for long. Breaks are essential for all employees to function at their best.

Speak To Your Superior

If you have a lot of work, a significant project, and are having a tough time managing it, speak to your manager. They can help you manage things better or even lend a helping hand. You have to let them know; however, they may not be aware due to their work. You do not have to feel shy or embarrassed if your work is adding to your stress.

QuestionPro’s Workforce to Prevent Workplace Stress

Employee needs are changing faster than ever before; while managing organizational culture, keeping a pulse on the most important drivers of employee engagement and wellbeing in real-time is critical.

Ongoing feedback from employees, delivered through intuitive dashboards, enables each stakeholder to take action and positively impact the organization.

The work culture is the DNA of any organization, who it is, how it works, and how its employees experience it all. Discover workplace culture with QuestionPro Workforce.