Many of us are as familiar with stress in the workplace as we are with the copier or with the coffee machine. Stress isn’t just bad for an employee, but also for the employee’s productivity levels. In fact, Stress.org published a number of worrying statistics about workplace stress in 2019. At the top of the list was a staggering 83% of US workers suffering from workplace stress. Following just below it, the study estimated stress causes businesses to lose around $300 billion in a single year. So how does one counter workplace stress? That is exactly what this blog explores.
Managing Workplace Stress
Stress in the workplace can arise for any number of reasons. Maybe the company culture isn’t as friendly as an employee would like. There is no shortage of triggers, and they vary from person to person. However, this blog is not concerned with the reasons behind workplace stress. Instead, it focuses on accepted ways that can help you manage it in a healthy way. These include the following:
- Understand That Stress May Not Always Be Bad
- Steer Clear of Interruptions to Your Focus
- Don’t Set Yourself Unachievable Goals
- Organize Your Workspace
- Work On Your Posture
Let’s take a closer look at these below.
1. Understand That Stress May Not Always Be Bad
We’ve all grown up hearing about how stress is a silent killer and that it leads to a host of other health problems. So it can be very counterintuitive to learn that embracing your stress is often a great way to deal with it. A Yale study focused on two groups of test subjects.
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One group was told that stress was a debilitating condition while the other was taught that stress improves mental health and productivity. The study found that people can condition themselves very easily to accepting stress as a positive force and a catalyst for growth. This change in perception directly improves workplace performance and satisfaction.
2. Steer Clear of Interruptions to Your Focus
Avoiding distractions in a modern workplace can seem impossible. The phones are ringing, the air conditioning is noisy, and the general hum of your colleagues talking can be very distracting. These aren’t just annoyances. A study in Germany found that interruptions to a person’s workflow can often lead to people losing their focus, as well as feeling intense irritation. This only adds to workplace stress, so keep away from potential interruptions as much as possible.
3. Don’t Set Yourself Unachievable Goals
It is a great thing to have the ambition to succeed and achieve and career goals in life. But people often make the mistake of setting objectives that are just unrealistic. Setting unrealistic goals is only going to lead to stress when you can’t achieve them. Conversely, setting realistic goals encourages people to work harder towards them. A study in Australia found that people who could adjust their goals were better equipped to handle being confronted by unachievable goals. What this means is, your goals should not be rigid and monolithic. Instead, they should be realistic, flexible, and open to change.
4. Organize Your Workspace
Have you ever felt a wave of stress looking at all the files and clutter on your desk? There is a very good reason for that. A study at UCLA determined that simply looking at a disorganized space can trigger the production of stress hormones. The simple act of decluttering and organizing your workspace, cubicle, or office can be a huge stress reliever. And to keep stress away, just keep your space as clear as possible.
5. Work On Your Posture
Bad posture can do more than just give you back problems. It can also add to feelings of stress in the workplace. According to research from MIT faculty member Andy Yap suggests that posture has an impact on psychology or behavior. So when you’re sitting hunched up or in an uncomfortable position, you may feel powerless, irritable, and stressed. On the other hand, sitting in more open and expanded postures, as well as doing power poses, can help alleviate stress considerably.