4 Tips to Manage Workplace Stress

Workplace stress is a problem affecting many employees. A 2021 survey by the UK Health and Safety Executive examined the mental health of 100,000 workers. According to the research, 50% of incapacity for work was due to work-related stress, depression, and anxiety in 2020 and 2021. This results in a significant financial disadvantage not only for employees but for companies as well. In this article, we give you 4 effective and immediately applicable tips for dealing with stress!

What is workplace stress?

Stress first appeared in physics as a scientific concept, where its original meaning indicated an external force on objects. Subsequently, in the 20th-century medicine also began to use the term with a different attributed meaning. In a medical context, stress refers to an external impact that affects the human body, which could be an object hitting the body or a strong blow. Eventually, the concept of stress began to be used in psychology as well. 

Dr. Alex Ember, Associate Head of the Department of the Labour and Social Law at the University of Szeged Faculty of Law and Political Sciences, defines stress in his study as follows:

“(...) stress is the body's response to various stimuli in the same way and in a specific order. By stress we mean any effect that affects a person's physiological and/or psychological adaptation mechanisms. However, in many cases, this response is proved unsuccessful and inadequate to solve the problem. ”

Regarding stress, it is important to mention the concepts of eustress and distress. What exactly is the difference? Let’s take a look!

  • Eustress (beneficial stress): A stimulating, performance-enhancing kind of stress that increases our efficiency. It is typical in situations where the problem can be solved for the person experiencing stress.
  • Distress (negative stress): Stress accompanied by high tension and anxiety. It is typical in cases of seemingly unsolvable or difficult-to-manage problems.

Symptoms of work-related stress

Symptoms of work-related stress are similar to those of chronic fatigue and manager’s disease. Severe and persistent stress at work can even lead to depression - so it is important to detect the signs in time. Symptoms of workplace stress may include: 

  • Decreased work morale
  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of energy
  • Procrastination
  • Lack of work-life balance
  • Increased number of workplace conflicts
  • Ulcers 
  • High blood sugar
  • Constant anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Back pain
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle cramps
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Exhaustion
  • Decreased resistance to colds and infections
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Migraine
  • Reflux
  • High heart rate
  • Palpitations

Below you can find 4 tips to help you reduce workplace stress: follow them and protect yourself from undesirable consequences!

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Managing workplace stress: 4 tips

1. Prevention

Personal effort is necessary but may not be sufficient in itself to avoid the harmful effects of stress at work. Employers also have an important role in shaping the mental well-being of their employees, therefore modern, progressive companies began addressing stress management in their EHS (environmental, health and safety) strategy. The following methods are recommended:

  • employment of a mental health professional,
  • hiring a corporate psychologist,
  • stress management group sessions.

2. Precise definition of responsibilities, continuous feedback

Some of the most common stressors include inaccurately defined responsibilities, tasks, and a lack of supervisor-generated feedback. With no performance evaluation system or feedback employees often realize errors made in their work late. The below ideas may help reduce work-related stress experienced by employees: 

  • An accurate and comprehensive definition of duties to help avoid any role conflicts.
  • Defining precise goals to be achieved through work.
  • Checking the work performed, correcting errors.
  • Continuous supervisor/manager-generated feedback.

3. Lifestyle habits for stress management (nutrition, sleep, exercise)

In addition to organizational stress management efforts, employees can also do a lot to maintain their mental health. With lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet, frequent exercise, and the development of a healthy sleep schedule, they can increase their ability to tolerate stress. Without claiming to be exhaustive, the following is a list of some lifestyle changes worth considering:

  • Try to keep your average daily sleep time between 7-8 hours! Proper quality and quantity of sleep can be important tools to overcome stress.
  • Make sure to consume enough micronutrients! Deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals can lead to irritability.
  • Consume slow-absorbing, low-glycemic-index carbohydrate sources that provide constant blood sugar levels! This will prevent the frequent feeling of hunger which can make you irritable. 
  • In order to maintain your mental well-being try doing intense exercise a couple of times a week!

4. Professional help for stress management

If you feel like the above tips do not help you manage work-related stress, you may need to consult a professional. Chronic stress can cause serious health problems and prevention is often not possible without professional help. 

Frequently asked questions regarding workplace stress

Is workplace stress measurable via questionnaires?

Yes, work-related stress can be measured using questionnaires. To achieve an accurate result, it is important that the measurement be performed by a qualified professional. In addition to questionnaires, in-depth and focus group interviews can also help manage workplace stress. Even though there are many questionnaire samples available on the Internet, you may want to consider different options before using them: even with proper questionnaire editing, it can be problematic to interpret the data correctly without a mental health professional. 

What is the definition of workplace stress?

Workplace stress: a constant tension and discomfort experienced when we are unable to meet job demands and/or deal with workplace challenges. These challenges can include managing personal conflicts, a new project, a problematic client, or inadequate management activities.

What are some ways to resolve workplace stress? What can I do against it?

Ways of resolving workplace stress vary by individuals and organizational culture - the methods outlined above are worth applying to most individuals. The most effective ways:

  • Prevention of workplace stress, and mental health efforts within the company.
  • Introduction of a performance evaluation system; precise definition of responsibilities; clarification of goals to be achieved; regular feedback.
  • Lifestyle stress management methods (nutrition, sleep, exercise), that may help increase resilience to stress.
  • In-house training sessions to develop assertive communication skills.
  • Professional help for stress management.

Stress management with digitized solutions

Lack of communication is often the source of work-related stress - fortunately, many digital tools can help improve organizational communication. The Blue Colibri App offers an excellent internal communication solution by providing quick and efficient instant communication throughout the organization. Employees are able to communicate using their own devices, while it is also an effective solution for reaching employees without corporate e-mail addresses and/or computers.

Blue Colibri App is much more than a simple communication platform: it also allows companies to share corporate news, send highlighted notifications, organize company events, create document databases and image galleries, and to create and fill out tests and questionnaires. 

Join the digitized side to reduce workplace stress: book a free demo for the Blue Colibri App!

Join the digitized side to reduce workplace stress: book a free demo for the Blue Colibri App!