Do you know how to handle stress at work? Stress can take over the team and hinder productivity, so it is a must in any strategy to care for employees’ psychological well-being. However, not all companies know how to carry out systematic and efficient prevention and proper approach when it comes to knowing how to handle stress at work. This is why implementing emotional well-being programs for companies, such as the one designed by ifeel’s team of psychologists, is so helpful.
What is stress?
Stress is a complex phenomenon that manifests as a physiological and psychological response when it senses that our demands and challenges surpass our available resources. It is a natural mechanism designed to enable us to adjust and cope with daily circumstances. When confronted with a stressful situation, our body activates a flood of biological reactions commonly known as the stress response. This response prepares us for a fight-or-flight reaction.
When stress becomes excessive or chronic, it can have detrimental effects on our overall well-being. Prolonged and high levels of stress can severely strain our physical, mental, and emotional health. Mentally and emotionally, it can give rise to anxiety disorders, depression, burnout, decreased cognitive functioning, and impaired decision-making abilities. Moreover, not knowing how to handle stress at work can negatively impact our interpersonal relationships, work performance, and overall productivity. It can diminish our capacity to concentrate, affect our memory retention, and hinder our ability to problem-solve effectively.
The importance of knowing how to handle stress at work
The workplace is prone to stressful situations, both consistent with the problem and leaning toward the pathological. For this reason, it is as essential to correct the circumstances that are putting the psychological health of employees at risk as it is to take preventive measures against these situations.
Below is a summary of some of the causes that can lead to burnout syndrome and how to handle stress at work, how this response manifests itself, and some preventive measures you can take.
Causes of stress at work
- Poor team organization: unfair distribution of tasks and time, communication problems, wasted talent, incorrect prioritization of tasks.
- Not enough team members: the workload exceeds the HR available. This may be due to the capabilities of the team members or to the scarcity of time and material resources available to carry them out.
- Lack of Control: Having little influence over their work environment, decision-making processes, or the ability to manage their tasks can create feelings of frustration and helplessness.
- Workload: When employees feel overwhelmed and pressured due to how much work they can handle, it can lead to stress.
- Job Insecurity: Uncertainty about job stability, fear of layoffs or downsizing, and concerns about job security can generate significant stress. Constant worry about employment can lead to anxiety and a sense of vulnerability.
- Work-Life Balance: Long working hours, excessive overtime, limited time off, and neglecting personal needs can lead to feelings of burnout, strain relationships, and negatively affect overall well-being.
|I often feel overwhelmed when I look at pending tasks
|Just thinking about everything I must do overwhelms me.
|The workload has been very high lately, and we are getting less and less organised.
|I often get distracted looking at the news, email, or chats, and my work piles up.
|Lately, we have had important work peaks, which means that schedules are not respected.
|In the last few months, some staff members have left the team, but the volume of work has not decreased: I can’t cope with the workload.
|In the office, we would work better if there was a better atmosphere, but because we don’t communicate well, we work inefficiently.
|In the beginning, I liked the job more, but now I feel I have more responsibilities than I can handle, and I am getting sick of it.
|I understand we have to deliver, but I feel that we are making progress at the expense of our health.
|The company absorbs my energy but does not reward me in return.
Main signs of stress in the workplace
- Deterioration of relationships among colleagues and with bosses/subordinates.
- Decrease in motivation and commitment to the company, which worsens the situation.
- Deterioration of physical and psychological health: how to handle stress at work can be tiring. It damages the immune system, worsens attention and memory, and generates a feeling of anguish and helplessness if it is very prolonged. That is why it is behind so many medical leaves when it is not addressed in time.
How to handle stress at work
- Take care of communication: Effective communication can help manage expectations, delegate tasks, and foster a supportive work environment. Additionally, practice active listening and seek clarification when needed to prevent misunderstandings that can contribute to stress at work.
- Organize tasks properly: Evaluate their significance and deadlines, and create a structured plan such as a to-do list or employ time management strategies. Breaking down tasks into smaller, more manageable steps can alleviate the sense of being overwhelmed.
- Set boundaries: Avoid overworking and create a healthy work-life balance. Set realistic expectations for yourself and communicate your boundaries with colleagues and supervisors. Remember to take breaks and allocate time for activities outside of work that help you relax and recharge.
- Seek psychological support: Talk to trusted colleagues, friends, or family members about your stressors and concerns. Sharing your feelings can provide emotional relief and offer different perspectives or solutions. Additionally, consider seeking professional help, such as therapy, if stress at work becomes overwhelming.
Quiz: am I going through a stressful period at work?
Answer the following questions honestly and without overthinking. Trust your intuition.
1. I often feel overwhelmed when I see the tasks I have to do YES/NO
2. Just thinking about all the things I have to do makes me feel overwhelmed YES/NO
3. The work pace has been very high lately, and we are getting less and less organized YES/NO
4. I often get distracted looking at media, e-mail, or my chats, and my work is piling up YES/NO
5. Lately, we have had significant work surges, which means that schedules are not respected. YES/NO
6. In the last few months, some people have left the team, but the volume of work has not decreased: I can’t cope with it. YES/NO
7. In the office we would work better if there was a better atmosphere, but because we don’t communicate well we work very inefficiently YES/NO
8. At the beginning, I liked the job better, but now I feel that I have more responsibilities than I can handle, and I’m getting sick of it YES/NO
9. I understand the need to perform in the company, but I feel that we are progressing at the expense of our health YES/NO
10. I have the feeling that the company absorbs my energy but does not reward me in return YES/NO
Done? Take a note of your answers.
If you answered yes to half or more of them, you are likely experiencing moderate or even severe stress at work. If so, you should seek help to explore the causes and symptoms of this situation and define and diagnose it correctly to reverse it within your means. A psychologist can help you with this, as it is one of the most frequent topics in any therapist’s office.
What is the relationship between stress and workplace well-being?
The relationship between stress and workplace well-being is complicated and significant. Not knowing how to handle stress at work can have harmful effects on the overall well-being of employees. Stress can lead to physical, mental, and emotional health issues, thereby compromising workplace well-being.
Fostering a work environment that encourages stress management, work-life balance, and provides adequate support to employees is crucial for enhancing workplace well-being. By addressing and minimizing stress levels, organizations can help create a healthier and more productive work environment that contributes to the well-being of their employees.
Why is it in companies’ interest to handle stress at work and prevent burnout?
Firstly, prioritizing employee well-being through stress reduction and burnout prevention is crucial to effective human resources management. When employees experience high levels of stress, their job satisfaction and morale are likely to decline. Companies can foster a positive culture that promotes employee engagement, productivity, and overall job satisfaction by creating a supportive work environment and implementing stress management programs. This, in turn, leads to higher employee retention rates and reduces the costs associated with recruiting and training new staff.
Secondly, stress and burnout can significantly impact a company’s ROI. When employees are overwhelmed by stress, their performance and productivity may suffer, leading to reduced efficiency and effectiveness in their work. By addressing and minimizing stress levels, companies can enhance employee performance, optimize workflow, and ultimately improve the company’s results.
Finally, actively reducing stress and preventing burnout can have positive implications for sick leave and absenteeism rates. Individuals experiencing burnout may be more likely to take frequent absences as they struggle with exhaustion and lack of motivation. By implementing strategies to manage stress effectively, companies can reduce the occurrence of stress-related illnesses, decrease sick leave rates, and improve overall attendance in the workplace.
Emotional well-being program for companies
At ifeel, we know that work should not disrupt people’s well-being. That is why our team of psychologists, experts in well-being at work, has created an emotional well-being program for companies that positively impacts talent retention, reduces absenteeism, and combats employee stress.
In our Resources section, you will find helpful material, such as podcasts, HR guides, or interviews with HR managers. In addition, we have a Psychosocial Risk Factors Template, which you can use to comply with the requirements of the Labor Inspection.
Thanks to our emotional well-being program, your company’s HR managers can receive personalized, data-driven advice on improving the psychological well-being of their teams. In addition, this program offers employees a 360° mental health care service structured at different levels according to their needs. Try our program today to see how it could help you.
We hope you found this post about how to handle stress at work interesting. If you would like more information about our emotional well-being program for companies, request it, and we will contact your team as soon as possible.