What is the secret to having an efficient employee? About the science of coping with stress in the workplace

August 11, 2020 Anna Wojciechowska-Kusz

According to Koalicja Bezpieczni w Pracy (Safe at Work Coalition), stress in the workplace concerns 85% of all employees. Almost half of them complain about stressful work conditions, which reduce their efficiency and increase their absenteeism at work.

According to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, we spend plenty of money on treating stress-induced diseases. These are considerable losses for employers. Can this be changed? And how, since we need a little stress to be appropriately motivated at work? What is the challenge in coping with stress?

Start by measuring your stress level

To address the aforementioned questions, you need to understand what exactly this ubiquitous stress is, how it manifests itself, and what produces it. Then you need to try to take charge of it, which means that you need to find the best ways to soothe your nerves.

In our course, all participants can determine their current stress levels thanks to the included Holmes & Rahe Stress Scale. This is an interesting experience and a good starting point for further deliberations. The exercise shows the everyday situations which stress us out most and least. Although we are eager to use the word “stress”, often without giving it a second thought, not every tension is actually stress. You should take some time to learn about the types of stress which you can – and even should – try to overcome.

Stress in the workplace is not a personal problem

It should be noted that stress in the workplace is not the problem of individual employees but rather of the whole company. While the stress factors in the workplace have various impacts on specific employees, they always disrupt relations with colleagues and affect the operations of the whole organisation. Managers must help employees cope with stress with consideration of their individual predispositions and the ways they think of themselves and the reality surrounding them.

Analysing the reactions of people with both positive and negative attitudes to various situations is a beneficial experience. The attitudes, personalities, and capacities of employees are among the hardest challenges in controlling stress.

Try the stress management techniques

No one will argue the effects of prolonged stress. The conditions experienced by stressed-out employees include neurosis, depression, and heart attacks. So how can we avoid them?

We will not change our nature from day to day, but we can always learn certain reactions and ways to adapt to stress. We should “program ourselves positively”, which means that we should develop an approach, which will prevent us from surrendering to stress. All it takes is a moment of reflection on our own actions. Each of the proposed methods points the employee in the direction of self-awareness and consequential control of their own thoughts. People who learn to take advantage of the ways to cope with stress presented in the course will reap two benefits – not only will they be calmer in their personal lives, but they will also turn into more composed and efficient employees.

Managing stress in an organisation

The fact that we have plenty of control over our daily stress levels does not mean that we should be handling stress in the workplace without assistance of our superiors. They are the ones responsible for preventing employees from being exposed to unnecessary and excessive stress. The golden rule for supervisors is to try to adapt the quantity and difficulty of assignments to the abilities of the people working for them. Subordinates should have a sense of support from the organisation and their work must be appropriately controlled. Managers ensuring wellness of individuals are consequentially ensuring the good condition of the company.

Conclusion

Trying to control stress is like preparing your favourite meal. To amaze your guests, you often need to pick just the right amounts of spices. The same goes for stress in the workplace – for best results, you need the right level of stress intensity.

In this situation, the role of the online cookbook (selected recipes) is played by the methods used to deal with stress proposed in our course. You should try these proven and effective methods – despite the fact that all employees have their individual differences (just like all cooks). They will help you avoid serious problems (not just with your stomach) and enjoy tremendous success at work.

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