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How to Deal with Stress in the Workplace

17 April 2022

Richard Lozano

Man stressed working

Impacts of Stress:

The main impact of stress is on your mental health. Severe cases can lead to depression, anxiety and insomnia. Stress may mean that you struggle to have a healthy work-life balance which could end up leading to a burnout. It may mean you have difficulty completing work which could cause low morale and self-esteem. This is likely to lead to an increase in sick days and a higher rate of staff turnover for a business.

Stress can also cause physical health issues such as heartburn, high blood pressure and tense muscles. Stress can impact the immune system making it harder to fight off viruses and other illnesses. This may also lead to employees needing to take further time off.

Factors Leading to Work-Related Stress and How Employers Should Deal with Them 

  • Demands – You may experience stress if you’re unable to cope with the demands of the workplace. This could include stress about the workload, work patterns and the work environment.

This can be dealt with by making a to-do list to manage the workload and communicating with the line manager regarding your concerns with the workload. 

Management is encouraged to set realistic and achievable demands and hold regular 1-1 meetings to encourage employees to discuss the workload and voice any concerns they may have. 

  • Control – Employees may feel like they don’t have control over how their work is completed and the environment they work in.

Employees should be given reasonable control over the way their work is completed and flexibility of where they work.

  • Support – Employees may begin to feel stressed if they don’t receive relevant information from colleagues and management. 

Businesses should have procedures in place to ensure employees are properly supported and have the resources they require to complete their job. Employees should be made aware of the support systems available to them. 

  • Relationships – Stress may be caused if employees don’t feel like they have positive relationships at work.

Employers should promote positive working environments and deal with unacceptable behaviour. Positive relationships at work should be promoted by the business with things such as social events.

  • Role – Employees may experience stress if they don’t fully understand their roles and responsibilities 

The business should ensure that different employees' responsibilities are compatible and provide detailed job descriptions so everyone is aware of their responsibilities. 

  • Change – Stress may be caused by organisational change and how it’s communicated.

Employers should provide staff with appropriate information so reasons for change can be understood, feedback can be given and any concerns can be voiced.

Tips on Coping with Stress as an Employee

  • Track your stressors – Identify which situations create the most stress and how you respond to them.

You should record your thoughts, feelings, the environment and how you react. This will help you identify patterns among your stressors and your reactions.

  • Develop healthy responses – You should try to make healthy choices when stress levels rise, for example exercising.

Making time for hobbies is important, set aside time for things that please you. You should encourage healthy sleep habits.

  • Establish boundaries – Work-life boundaries are important.

Creating clear boundaries between work and life can reduce conflict and stress.

  • Take time to recharge – ‘switching off’ from work with periods of time where you’re not engaging with or thinking about work.

Use your holidays, turn your phone off and focus on non-work activities.

  • Learn how to relax – Meditation, deep breathing exercises and mindfulness can help take the stress away. These get stronger with practice.
  • Talk to supervisor – Employee help is linked to productivity so there is an incentive to create a work environment that promotes employee well-being.

You should come up with an effective plan for managing stressors so you can perform best at your job. 

  • Get support – Accepting help from people you trust can improve your ability to manage stress.

You may want to talk to a psychologist who can help you manage stress and change unhealthy behaviours.

 

For any more advice, our Employment Team are always happy to help and advise. Call them today on 01302 341414. 

 

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