We all have our fair share of experience with mental stress and are well-aware of the agony it can wreck. The modern world has bestowed us with a lot of favourable and advanced systems. However, this booming world has also opened its doors to some not-so-favourable mental conditions like depression, stress, and anxiety. This hazard named stress is our body’s way of responding to any demand or threat in order to protect ourselves. It’s an overwhelming drive that refuses to leave your side for good and keeps coming back.
Workplace stress can arise when there’s a conflict between the demands laid by your job and the amount of control you have over meeting these demands. Workplace stress has become a major health epidemic, affecting both the lives of employees and employers.
Recent psychological studies and surveys have found the following facts:
- About 89% of the population in India are suffering from stress compared to the global average of 86%.
- Approximately 75% of respondents do not feel comfortable talking about it to professional counsellors.
- The stress levels in Indians are higher as compared to other developed and emerging countries like the US, the UK, Germany, France, China, Brazil, and Indonesia.
How Can Stress Impact Personal And Professional Life?
Along with your mind, stress can also affect your health, and it’s time that you recognize the symptoms to manage them. Prolonged stress can cause insomnia, frequent headaches, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, fatigue, and a variety of other health issues. Stress significantly affects your personal and professional relationships. It can also cause interpersonal conflicts, concentration problems, lack of motivation, accidents, and reduced productivity.
We have a strong attachment to our workgroups and colleagues. And a disturbing work atmosphere can hamper this equilibrium along with the performance and productivity of the workers. Work-related stress even disrupts our memory and information processing abilities by making us mentally exhausted. Therefore, stress management in the workplace has become a trending practice in recent times, and it’s crucial to recognize the main triggers which cause stress.
8 Common Causes Of Stress At The Workplace
1. Unrealistic Workload And Expectations
It can get quite stressful if the management sets unrealistic targets for the employees to achieve, ignoring the latter’s capabilities. Such unrealistic standards make it difficult for the employees to cope up with the work pressure. Staying late and doing those extra hours will only cost you some precious time that you could have spent with your friends and family. Role-uncertainty is another crucial reason for work stress among employees.
Conflict takes place in every organization, but the intensity and nature vary greatly. If a company runs on the principle of ‘blame culture’ then the environment is bound to be extremely toxic and hostile. Workers keep blaming each other for their mistakes and simple tasks can turn out to be extremely stressful and unattainable. Workplace bullying, harassment or discrimination are few other causes of stress in the workplace.
3. Work-Life Balance
Studies all across the globe have shown that work-life balance is a crucial aspect for professionals. It’s hazardous if work related stress leaves little room for personal life, disrupting the balance.
4. Poor Management
Facing continuous humiliation and lack of appreciation can turn your professional life upside down. Selfish, controlling and manipulative bosses can make your work-life hazardous and quite stressful. Soon, the employees lose interest and look for better prospects. Lack of support from bosses and management weakens the morale of the workers. Workers with low morale fail to be productive and cater to the demands of the job. A lot of people change jobs not because of the nature of work that they indulged in but due to such horrible bosses, which caused them significant work stress.
5. Lack Of Communication
When the management constantly changes its decisions and there’s a lack of communication between the employees, the entire structure and flow of work in the organization gets hampered and the employees suffer greatly.
6. Lack Of Recognition And Promotional Opportunities
Every employee seeks recognition and respect at the workplace and it’s painful when they fail to receive them even after putting in immense hard work. If a worker is denied recognition or promotional opportunities time and again, he will feel frustrated and look for another organization that can fulfil such basic professional needs.
7. Traumatic Events
If a worker has experienced some kind of trauma at the workplace like sexual harassment, some sort of humiliation or accident then it becomes difficult for him or her to continue working in such an organization. They may feel that coming to work at the same place makes them relieve the trauma, causing substantial work stress.
8. Work Environment
Lack of privacy and proper equipment, noise, poor temperature conditions, and other such inadequate facilities can cause physical as well as mental stress to employees.
10 Effective Strategies For Work Stress Management
1. Evaluate Your Communication Patterns
Adopting small changes in your communication and work style can lead to improved and effective communication with your team members, seniors, and other colleagues. It can significantly lower your anxiety levels and create a positive outlook, managing stress at work.
2. Always Keep A To-Do List
Keeping a to-do list can help you in dealing with work-related stress. It helps you to outline your day, prioritise your tasks and keep a constant tab on things. This preparation ultimately saves you a lot of hassle, stress, and you will know what your day is going to look like.
3. Take Periodic Breaks
Staying glued to your desk is both physically and mentally unhealthy for you. Take small and frequent breaks where you get to stretch out your muscles and freshen-up your mind.
4. Prioritise Tasks
Prioritise your tasks and start with the most unpleasant one. As soon as you get over it, you will automatically feel a lot relaxed and the other tasks will seem a lot easier, ensuring a pleasant day.
5. Always Try To Find Humour Irrespective Of The Situation
Managing stress at work can be easier if you try to find humour in stressful situations. Humour is indeed a great way to keep yourself stress-free at work. Whenever things get too stressful, lighten up the mood by sharing a funny story or a joke. It helps in improving focus and keeping a positive attitude.
6. Change Your Attitude Towards Your Work
Having a fulfilling and rewarding job is everybody’s dream, but don’t be unsatisfied if you fail to find one. Rather try finding meaning and satisfaction in your current job until you land up with your dream job. Such attitudinal change will not only help you to deal with work pressure but will also allow you to regain your sense of purpose and control.
7. Tackle Workplace Conflicts
Conflicts are bound to arise in every situation of life, but how we respond and deal with them is the ultimate goal. Try resolving workplace conflicts in a positive way as it will only allow you to have much needed mental peace, and you will be able to concentrate on your work in a better manner.
8. Maintain A Journal
Keeping a journal can help you identify and track the stressors and what exactly triggers them. Vent out your emotions, thoughts, and feelings in it and such kind of catharsis will not only help you to vent out your emotions but to analyse your behaviour in a better way.
Practice meditation, yoga, and exercise daily. Such physical and mental activities will help you to deal with unwanted and negative thoughts. Your focus, concentration, and ability to deal with stressful situations will improve significantly.
10. Talk To Your Supervisor
Having an open and heart-to-heart discussion with your boss regarding your problems can substantially resolve work related stress. Bottling up such problems will only elevate your stress levels and make it difficult for you to perform.
Stress has become a major setback when it comes to professional spheres, affecting millions of lives. The ever-changing economy and increased financial concerns have created immense pressure in the workplace. Stress management in the workplace has become crucial for sustaining productivity and smooth functioning of your mind and body. At times, simply acknowledging the situation and seeking help from friends and family can help you in handling and dealing with stress. Even consult a psychologist, who will be able to treat you with professional efficiency.