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Stress Management Tip – Reduce Stress in the Workplace

Stress Management Tip – Reduce Stress in the Workplace
By David Tomaselli

Feeling stress in the work place is a very common issue in many organisations both large and small. For workers, the result of such stress is reduced job satisfaction. In extreme cases this can degenerate further into physical and psychological symptoms such as muscular aches and pains, weakened immunity, irritability and depression to name a few. This ultimately leads to feeling burnt out. For the organisation, there is also an impact. Firstly a worker that is suffering from stress and burn out will typically be quite unproductive because of absenteeism and/or less than satisfactory job performance. The impact on the organisation will also vary depending on the type of role the worker engages in. For example a stressed out salesman who develops a detachment towards clients can potentially affect the public perception of the organisation. Similarly a stressed out worker involved in producing goods will not produce anywhere near his/her optimal output. There can also be an indirect impact on other fellow co-workers due to lower morale.

Before one can look at how to deal with workplace stress, it is important to look at the various sources of such stress. Stress will be either due to personal reasons or because of workplace issues. Personal stress can include anything unrelated to the actual workplace such as relationship issues, family conflicts, financial concerns etc. Workplace stresses will be based on either the nature of the job itself or the nature of the organisation or both. The job itself may be too much of a load for the one person due to either lack of resources (people and equipment) or time. There may be some form of ambiguity as to what the actual role of the job is exactly. From an organisational perspective, there may be simply low morale due to downsizing and cost cutting. The management of the organization may also be perceived as not treating their workers fairly. Or perhaps the actual conditions of the workplace are below an acceptable standard.

Because workplace stress can be either personal or organisational, addressing and managing this stress will require a proactive approach from two angles. Personally, there is a lot one can do ensure that he/she is feeling content and happy including getting regular rest, exercising, eating well and even seeking professional help if necessary. If the stress is due to the nature of the role or organisation, then the worker must speak to the relevant authority, i.e. the manager or other individual, to discuss the concerns. If discussing this does not solve the issue, perhaps it is time to move on – there may simply be not a good fit between the individual and the job, or the individual and the company.

Finally the organisation can also be quite proactive in minimizing the workplace stress felt by its workers. Roles can be redesigned to fit the individuals. Appropriate training or change management programs can be put into place to support the workers. The HR division within the company may also need to look at better strategies for recruiting the right people. For large organisations, stress management and wellness programs can also be introduced. The organisation has a lot to gain by implementing one or more of the above suggestions - increased morale, decreased absence, decreased turnover, increased performance and productivity, and ultimately growing profits.

For more stress tips go to Manage Stress.