Workplace stress isn’t easy to define, but we all know what it feels like when it happens.
Fatigue, anxiety, lack of focus and feelings of hopelessness and despair are all common when suffering from work-related stress.
Not to mention the migraines, stomach problems and physical symptoms which often accompany stress and increased levels of tension at work.
Not only are these effects extremely unpleasant for the individual, but they also have grave consequences for an organisation.
High stress levels amongst a team or workforce can have a direct and negative knock-on effect on how your employees interact with clients, how well they can achieve their goals and the way that they cooperate with their co-workers.
Alongside that, stress is directly associated with higher sickness rates, poor workforce health levels and lower productivity.
Make no mistake; stress seriously damages your workforce, on an individual and organisational level. The truth is, a stressed employee is seldom a productive employee, which is why managing stress is such a key-task for managers and leaders today.
Stress as a by-product of 21st century business culture
If you’re a manager or business owner, then you can be sure that most of your employees have experienced work-related stress or anxiety at some point in their career. Indeed many of us will openly admit to stress and pressure being an accepted part of our daily work.
With increased job uncertainty and lack of financial stability for businesses and companies across the globe, and a constant trend of change in the present business culture, it’s no wonder that job-strain and pressure are a part of the average workplace.
People are working longer hours, giving themselves less leisure time and micromanagement is still rife in many organisations.
A sure-fire recipe for stress!
The subjectivity of job strain
There’s no doubt that external stress factors play a huge role in levels of workplace anxiety and job strain.
Nonetheless, the real challenge in understanding the causes of individual workplace stress lies in the highly subjective and individual nature of the problem. Stress and tension both take very different guises in each one of your employees.
This means that combating stress involves understanding what the “stress buttons” are for each of your people, helping them to foresee possible stressful situations and to manage those situations better, collaboratively.
Some employees become stressed from having insufficient information or clear guidance from their manager. Others get hot under the collar and start to feel the pressure when given little or no opportunity to be creative and try new things at work.
These things may initially seem trivial to you, because you have your own subjective “stress buttons