Stress in the workplace

Apr 22 2014

We all know stress in the workplace has increased over the past 6 years, as they say things flow downhill.  As the economy has become more challenging, so the challenge has increased for organisations, which in turn has increased the pressure on the people within organisations.

Some of the major causes of stress in the workplace include:

-Long working hours -High workload with tight deadlines -Staff feeling like they have no control over their work situation -The personality fit of staff & manager -The communication style of the manager -Not having the right skills and strengths for the job -Poor health & low energy e.g. it’s far harder to deal with pressure with poor health & low energy.  Great health & energy gives you greater resilience to deal with pressure -Challenges outside of work

Here are 3 things organisations can do to manage stress in the workplace

   1# Avoid using the word stress, why? -The word stress has negative associations, and we want to keep the work environment positive -Some people don’t like to admit to being stressed, these types of people will therefore not open up when confronted with the word stress  -Some people are always saying how stressed they are, for these people we need to move them into a more positive and empowering place  -Instead, using the word “pressure” has a more positive association, a little pressure is positive for everyone’s life
 2# Ensure your managers are fuelling a positive culture
- Mangers need to be mindful of the workload and deadlines they place on their teams
 - Managers need to notice the early warning signs of stress in the workplace. These tell them when staff are under too much pressure or are struggling with a big challenge  - Managers need to keep their communication style open & positive  - Managers need to celebrate success e.g. - When a great result has been achieved - When a great learning & improvement has been made - When someone has worked extremely hard on a project - When someone gets promoted
3# Focus on improving employee health, energy & resilience
 - Put simply, staff in good health with will be more resilience to pressure than staff in poor health
- When looking at your employee wellbeing programme look at the full picture of physical and mental health and energy, this will ensure staff have better resilience to deal with pressure e.g. mind management, sleep, nutrition, exercise, how staff relax and re-energise themselves, how staff work smarter with technology and their work life balance
- Whether you use workshops, webinars or health events, making sure your approach is consistent and ongoing is key e.g. one workshop on resilience will help but is won’t create sustainable change