Prayer For Stress At Work
Causes, Signs and Solutions
Work stress is a major cause of stress for many people. The causes of stress at work, the signs and symptoms of workplace stress and what you can do about job stress are examined.You've got an irate boss hounding for yesterday's report. You're working long hours and taking work home – under pressure with tomorrow's deadline.No wonder job stress is one the fastest growing causes of stress.Approximately 25% of employees found that workplace stress was the number one cause of stress in their lives.1Free Stress Management ResourcesSign up for the latest stress news and reviews with “StressLess Living” newsletter and receive a free stress management tips eBookTake part in our free stress management course delivered to your Inbox.
Workplace stress can have a serious impact on your health and wellbeing and is major contributor to absenteeism and occupational injury.
BUT…you don't have to be passive to the effects of workplace stress.
There are many things that you can do to reduce stress at work.
Here we provide some of the common signs and symptoms of job stress, the causes of stress and what you can do to reduce stress in the workplace.
Signs and symptoms of work stress
Some jobs are inherently more stressful than others – high stress jobs emergency medical doctors or air traffic controllers are some examples.
BUT all jobs entail some workplace stress!
Stress in the workplace can be defined as when the perceived demands of the job outstrip your coping abilities.
There are a number of symptoms that can occur at the emotional, physiological and behavioral levels.For example at the emotional level you may experience increased frustration and irritability at work, or a sense of helplessness and lack of morale.
If you have ever noticed stiffness in your shoulders or an overall increase in muscle tension then you are experiencing one of the physiological symptoms of stress. Others include tension headaches, more rapid breathing or an increased chance of digestive problems.
At the behavioral level stress can result in increased consumption of alcohol or smoking as the stressed worker attempts to cope with workplace stress.
I talk more about the signs and symptoms of work related stress and what you can do to reduce workplace stress.
Causes of work stress
Perhaps you coworker really knows how to press your buttons!
Whether it is the irate boss yelling for yesterday’s report, unsupportive co-workers and supervisors, or the worry of being laid off – there are many causes of workplace stress.
BUT…workplace stress is not just about stress at work.
We don’t live in a vacuum – we can be affected by other things at home or outside the office.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) model of job stress shows that job stress is a combination of stressful job conditions, your personality and other outside factors – such as stress at home and support networks.
The NIOSH break stressful work conditions into several categories.
I talk more about these several categories and what you can do at beat job stress.
Reduce Job Stress
Excess stress in the workplace can put you at risk of job burnout – in which your physical and mental resources are depleted and you become physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted.
Stress can impact health and reduce your overall productivity. This makes dealing with work stress important for you!
|Reduce job stress by planning and prioritizing|
Once of the causes of stress that I see a lot of is overwork.
With increasing globalization and job insecurity – it can sometimes feel that you HAVE to do the work to keep your job.
Do you regularly pull long hours and take work home? Do you have a to-do list as long as your arm and feel pressured by a lack of time?
These are some common causes of work stress and time management at work may be beneficial for you. By planning you work and then working your plan you can increase your effectiveness and overall work impact.
|Other ways to reduce workplace stress|
Work stress is an increasing problem and there are a number of ways that you can be proactive in the face of stress.
I talk more about the many approaches to dealing with stress through nutrition, regular relaxation, the importance of breaks and what the organization can do to reduce stress at work.
Relaxation Techniques You Can Adapt for Work Stress
Use Breathing Exercises to Reduce Stress at Work Stress
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Stress at Work: a simple guide
It's vital that employers are tuned in to how their employees are feeling. The symptoms of stress can appear in a number of ways, but here are some typical signs.
Emotional Your employee may seem sensitive to criticism, be irritable, have an uncharacteristic loss of confidence or self-esteem, and be less engaged.
Cognitive You may notice that your employee is making more mistakes than usual, is having problems making decisions, or is not able to concentrate.
Behavioural This could include things arriving late, not taking lunch breaks, taking unofficial time off, not joining in with the team or office banter, or not hitting deadlines.
Physical Employees who are stressed sometime exhibit physical symptoms such as what seems a constant cold, being tired at work, looking they haven't made an effort with their appearance, or rapid weight loss or gain.
Coping with stress at work
Identifying a stressed employee is one thing, but helping them to cope with stress is quite another as they have no obligation to discuss their personal problems with managers. And with manager style and behaviour often cited as a major cause of workplace stress, managers clearly have a massive – and potentially tricky – role to play.
Acknowledging the problem exists is the first step. Understandably, many employers are worried about broaching the subject, being wrong or causing offence. And if the manager's actually the problem, a neutral third party is needed. A company's HR department typically provides an informal and independent sounding board.
Either the line manager or HR professional should ask the employee for a quiet word somewhere private and then let them know that they've noticed they've not been themselves and ask if they'd to talk about it.
If they are willing, a meeting with HR could then be set up. The meeting should be confidential, non-threatening, open and provide an opportunity for the employee, the line manager and the HR professional to discuss and identify what support the business can offer to better help the employee to cope.
In an ideal world, this scenario wouldn't happen, but with increasingly busy lives it's a situation that employers are more and more ly to see. The good news is that there are things you can do to help reduce the incidence of stress-related problems arising in the workplace:
Effective communication channels between the workforce and managers go a long way to ensure people feel they have someone to talk to if their workload is spiralling control or they have other worries.
Ways of setting up good communication could include staff surveys, giving workers the opportunity to anonymously voice concerns about their jobs and even make suggestions as to how they would to see management cut down on stress.
When it comes to how you deal with stress in the workplace, it probably goes without saying that a long-term strategy is preferable. That said, there are a number of shorter-term tactics that you can implement that can go a long way in helping you to tackle workplace stress, including:
- offering stress-management workshops which all staff are invited to and which focus on coping with stress at work. This will help ensure your affected employee doesn't feel they are being singled out
- keeping an eye on staff holiday – if certain employees aren't using their full quota, gently remind them that they still have plenty of days left to take
- ensuring people can relax while on holiday by making sure other people are available to do their work
- being aware of workloads – spotting and intervening if you notice unreasonable demands being placed on any one employee
- making sure managers are reminded that 'thank you' goes a long way in making staff feeling appreciated
Once you've made a start on tackling stress in your workplace, it's worth considering a longer-term strategy. It'll take more time and effort to set-up than the shorter-term fixes, but the results should be worth it. Suggestions for a longer-term solution include:
- Work environment: for example, are there distractions that you can remove, or changes that you can make to seating arrangements?
- Training: things job shadowing, refresher training or a more formal course run externally, can all help employees feel more in control of their working lives.
- Reducing possible pressure: pressure is part and parcel of most jobs at some point, but to make sure it doesn't become a permanent fixture, consider offering flexible working, or working from an office nearer home.
- 3rd party help: if your company has one, an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) can provide independent, expert help (see Wellbeing section below)
- Self-help strategies: consider offering short courses on relaxation techniques and time management, or maybe introduce the option of an exercise class once a week. You could also advertise (on noticeboards or your intranet) websites that promote healthy eating, how to achieve a good work/life balance, etc.
The boss blues
We've all come across a cross-section of managers and a range of management styles in our careers. Some may be uncaring, inflexible or unsure. Others are nurturing, empathic and supportive. Either way, management style, good or bad, has a direct effect on staff wellbeing and morale.
Training newly-appointed managers in man-management techniques can be one way to equip someone stepping into the role. Key management behaviours to consider include:
- Being responsible and showing respect – managers can understandably get annoyed with their staff, but it's up to them to manage their emotions and conduct all interactions in a considered manner.
- Managing and communicating workloads – let your staff know what's coming up so they can better manage their workloads. It's also good to take an open problem solving approach with employees – that collaborative approach will help empower employees.
- Treating people individuals within the team – this includes having an open-door policy (we know it's easier said than done when you've got a lot on, but it really will help). Also, where you can, try to empathise with employees and offer flexibility in hours, workload, or location to help employees manage their individual work/life balance.
- Offer support with managing difficult situations: managing conflict is harder for some people than others. Where you see difficult situations arising, offer support and, if needs be, take responsibility for resolving the issue.
Acas' Guidance: managing people has a number of practical suggestions