Stress at work isn’t necessarily a bad thing - it can keep you focused and energetic while driving you to tackle new challenges in the workplace. Stress can also help to keep you on your toes, so you avoid mistakes and accidents and strive to do great work. However, in today’s workplace, factors like tight deadlines, increasing demands, and long hours can leave feeling worried and overwhelmed.
While it’s normal to experience some stress at work, chronic stress can interfere with your productivity and performance. According to Forbes, the average businessperson has 30 to 100 projects on his plate at any given time, and 40% of adults say that stressful events from the day keep them lying awake at night.
You may have noticed that when you’re stressed, your breathing gets faster, your heartbeat speeds up, you start to sweat, and your muscles tense. This is because when you’re in a stressful situation, your nervous system is activated and responds by releasing hormones. This phenomenon is known as the “fight-or-flight” response. These effects are usually temporary and your body recovers quickly from them. If your nervous system stays activated for a long period of time, however, you might have chronic stress and experience long-term health problems.
The signs of chronic stress may include headache, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, and upset stomach. If excessive stress is not addressed, it can lead to long-term health problems, such as the following:
• Heart disease
• Heart attacks
• Weight gain or loss
No matter what you do for a living or how much stress you experience at work, there are several things you can do to minimize your stress and regain control. Managing your stress could significantly improve your health and well being. Eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising, and creating a schedule that balances work and play will help you keep stress at bay.
• Lead by Example: Companies can help to reduce stress in the workplace in a number of ways. For one, managers should lead by example, staying in control of their own emotions and not letting their anger, negativity, and stress rub off on employees. Managers should also give themselves time to de-stress at the end of each workday by going for a run or spending time with family. When employees see that their managers carve time out for themselves, it makes them feel like they’re allowed to take time off, too.
• Encourage Social Activity: Employees spend a lot of time at work, so the more they get along with their co-workers, the better they’ll feel at work. Employers can provide opportunities for social interaction by creating an open-office environment that encourages collaboration and planning social activities for the whole team. Employers can also create a quiet room or zone where employees are allowed to just relax and recoup. Employees can come to this room to take a break from work and feel refreshed and re-energized again.
• Flexible Working Initiatives and Remote Working: A major cause of stress among workers is strict hours. This is particularly true for women and others with family obligations. By allowing employees to work remotely or on a flexible schedule, you can help to improve their productivity and morale.
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