Want to develop some effective strategies for managing stress in the workplace? Stress is everywhere. And as a business manager (and worker) you must learn about the importance of stress management in the workplace and how to manage stress at work.
No doubt, every employee buffeted by stress at work takes it home. And usually end up rubbing the effect on their loved ones.
Why do you need strategies for managing stress in the workplace?
No doubt, all jobs have their unique stress. But there are jobs more stressful than others. And these work-related stress often have profound effects on the mental and physical health of workers, and you begin to ask, where do they (these stressors) come from?
But the good news is, in this article, you’ll learn effective strategies for managing stress in the workplace. But before then, let’s look at:
The effect of Work stress on the organization
1. Increase in staff recruitment cost
When staff get stressed in an organization, threatening their overall health and well-being, they become forced to use the exit door. And that means there will be a need for regular recruitment exercises, which has a cost implication because it takes money to finance the recruitment processes down to training new staff.
2. Decline in productivity
One of the profound effects of work-related stress on an employee is a drastic nosedive in his motivation level. And that mainly leads to the low productivity of such a worker. Have you ever seen someone close to chronic anxiety and depression (without motivation) stay efficient?
3. Make workers prone to health issues and casualties
Stress at work not quickly managed can make someone’s mind tear apart and may lead to actions whose aftermath effects are endangering.
Say, for example, an employee you know got stressed big time and decided to get a few bottles of drink to calm his nerves on his way back home. But unfortunately, he got admitted to a hospital after a fatal accident due to an alcoholic-induced reckless driving.
Stress at work caused by management due to negligence to its legal duties may lead to litigation from employees adversely affected. Especially when the workers are clean and justified in the context of the law.
Thus, in this case, organizations face the threat of a lawsuit as one of the effects of work stress.
5. Irreparable damages.
You’ll agree that building a reputation takes lots of effort and time, but destroying it may take only a few minutes. Same for any business organization.
A company’s goodwill may be at stake when the stress in its working environment leads to consistent customer dissatisfaction arising from inefficiency.
Other effects of work stress include:
- Body pain and cramps
- Use of drugs and substance
- High blood pressure
- Negative emotions
But there won’t be any effect if there is no cause. Work stress doesn’t just happen to someone, but they do because of some causes.
Stress and Strategies for Managing Stress in the Workplace
Stress is somewhat a default response people put up when there’s excessive pressure on them without the availability of an equal level of strength to deal with the situation.
But in a business environment, the cause of stress could be the demands of the job and a toxic work environment arising from the inappropriate level of temperature, lighting, ventilation, or as the case may be.
Developing strategies for managing stress in the workplace
In her work, Management of Stress at Workplace, Smruti Rekha S.(2016) noted that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) grouped potential stressors into six: 1. demands 2. control 3. relationships 4. change 5. Role 6. support
But in this article, we shall be looking at them as factors that should get considered when planning strategies for managing stress in the workplace
1. Work demand as a factor for setting up strategies for managing stress in the workplace
This has to do with the nature of the job, timing, and working conditions (and environment). And they include things like lighting, ventilation, noise, temperature, and workloads, among others.
For example, an extroverted person will find a job with long unsociable hours more stressful than an introverted fellow. The reason managers must put this into consideration when formulating strategies for managing stress in the workplace.
Control here refers to the autonomy level that the job offers. Especially in its execution. According to Smruti Rekha, jobs that afford individuals low-level control are often more stressful than jobs.
Just imagine a job where you have little or no say as to how much you can apply your initiatives in carrying out your duties and responsibilities. Terrible, right?
That’s why a business management team should properly scale this factor when writing out strategies for managing stress in the workplace. Remember, no one enjoys it when they get overly micromanaged.
3. Consider relationships when developing strategies for managing stress in the workplace
Interpersonal relationships cannot get overstressed because there’ll always be interactions amongst colleagues, subordinates, and superiors. And often, most stress employees go through at their workplace arises from terrible relationships with coworkers, which result in gossips, conflicts, bullying, and harassment.
So, when drawing up strategies for managing stress in the workplace, business managers should carefully consider the nature of relationships amongst their team members.
Many times, a lot of us ask for change, but when it shows up, we begin to ask ourselves if we’re ready for it. The same applies to most business organizations. Indeed, change will always occur because our world is fast-changing.
But when a change is not envisioned and well planned for, it leads to stress on workers, as more pressure will get placed on them.
5 Review job roles to manage stress in the workplace
You’ll agree that every worker in an organization has a job designation– what many call “job roles.” And your effectiveness as an employee of a firm is dependent on how well you know your job role and responsibilities.
But in cases where your duties are vague or clashing with someone else’s role, experiencing stress becomes unavoidable.
Thus, this is a factor every manager must put into perspective when developing strategies for managing stress in the workplace.
This primarily involves the level of support you get to help you carry out your job effectively and efficiently. And support can come as training, sponsorship, or supply of essential resources from the management of your company. It can also come as encouragement from your colleagues.
That’s why it’s a crucial point to be looked at by supervisors or business managers when they’re creating strategies for managing stress in the workplace.
Effective Strategies for managing stress in the workplace
When our ability to work, take care of ourselves, and lead our personal lives gets constrained by stress, there is no time for folding arms.
True, stress can come from outside or through (and at) work, but business owners and managers should develop strategies for managing stress in the workplace. They include:
1. Identify the source of the stress
You might have read up things like this as a measure to deal with stress at work: take time to relax and recharge.
No doubt that sounds great, but it still doesn’t solve the problem— without knowing the stressors.
Could it be due to a change, lack of support, or other issues?
2. Good management culture
How do problems get identified and solved at the workplace? That’s where good management culture comes to play.
And it’s about the corporate attitude, shared ideology, values, and work ethic of business managers or top management teams, down to all employees.
3. Eliminate work-related violence and harassment
Conflicts are inevitable in groups or between departments in organizations, and usually, they result in work stress and tension. But the question is, how should they be eliminated, managed, or better prevented?
As discussed in factors to consider when mapping out strategies for managing stress in the workplace, managers must duly coordinate the relationships and interactions of workers in a manner that fosters unity and cooperation. With that, violence and harassment will reduce to the barest minimum.
4. Give managerial support
Remember the last time you had a challenge or technical problem concerning the execution of your work? Were you given the needed support to resolve or manage the issue?
If your answer is yes, your boss has been able to employ one of the strategies for managing stress in the workplace.
But imagine an employee whose working equipment has gotten faulty for one reason or another. Don’t you think he would go through stress if his manager or team leader expects him to perform at his peak, even without fixing or replacing the faulty equipment, which could be his computer or a faulty mouse (as little as it may appear)?
5. Workers’ education and training
The business or work environment is dynamic and prone to change and innovation. And often, these changes are powered by technological advancements and create production gaps when workers get handicapped by their limited skills, knowledge, or exposure.
That’s why business managers (or through the human resource team) shouldn’t stop the training of recruits after success at the job interview. Instead, they should train and educate workers through workshops, seminars, or other formalized training on an interval basis.
Other Strategies for managing stress in the Workplace
6. Provide healthcare measure
The World Health Organization says, “Health is wealth.” And it’s only a healthy worker who can produce peak performance. So when business managers take actions that send employees the message that their well-being is valued, they’ll usually want to give their best in their jobs.
Some of these health measure which serve Strategies for managing stress in the Workplace include:
- Ensuring break times are duly observed by employees, except for peculiar cases.
- Encouraging staff to take leave at due time
- Incorporating an excellent HMO into their employees
- Calling health experts to give them talks and counsel about essential health matters
7. Use a counseling program
One of the strategies for managing stress in the workplace is the adoption of a counseling program. Yes, every employee deeply desires a balanced life– having a healthy lifestyle, a successful career, and a happy home.
While the management of companies may be unable to help employees handle other stress that comes from life (and not work), they can incorporate counseling programs at the workplace that can help staff be super productive at their jobs.
8. Eat and rest well
“If you don’t take care of yourself, nobody will.” This one is the most brutally honest statement one may ever hear. So true. That’s the reason you should try to eat well. And not only that, you should learn to have adequate rest. Because failure to do that can degenerate into serious health challenges that can adversely affect your work attitude and performance at your place of work.
9. Stay in touch with family and friends
Good social connections and relationships with family and friends influence your motivation level, even at work. That’s the reason you should stay connected to them. You can create time for hanging out or just spending quality and enjoyable time with your family members at home.
Final thought on strategies for managing stress in the Workplace
We’ve learned that stress is inevitable in any business environment, especially in this age of civilization. But we’ve also learned that work-related stress can be handled with finesse, by developing and applying effective strategies for managing stress in the workplace.
Smrut Rekha S. (2016). Management of Stress at Workplace. Global Journal of Management and Business Research: Administration and Management; Vol 16(6)