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Stress Awareness Month – Our Top Tips to Take Action at Work

Welcome back to our April "Take Action" series supporting Stress Awareness Month. In our second article, we will look at managing stress in the workplace. And if you missed our first article about managing stress at home, check it out here.

Managing stress at work is essential to protect our mental and physical health as well as helping us to be more productive, creative, and innovative.

By understanding the sources and effects of stress and developing strategies to manage it, employers and employees can work together to create a healthier and happier workplace.

What are some of the common causes of workplace stress?

Some of the common causes of workplace stress include:

  • Low salaries
  • Excessive workloads
  • Few opportunities for growth or advancement
  • Work that isn't engaging or challenging
  • Lack of social support
  • Lack of control over job-related decisions
  • Conflicting demands or unclear performance expectations
  • Working long hours and mandatory overtime
  • Workplace bullying or a toxic environment
  • Lack of job security
  • Inability to take breaks during the workday

What are the symptoms of workplace stress?

The symptoms of workplace stress can vary widely depending on the situation and the individual.

Physical symptoms may include increased sweating, heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, headaches, and digestive issues.

Psychological symptoms may include feeling overwhelmed, anxious, irritable, tearful, or apathetic; having difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or staying motivated; losing interest in work; social withdrawal; sleep disorders; depression; and anxiety.

5 ways to manage stress at work

Take Breaks Throughout the Day

Breaks can give you a short mental break or time to step away from your desk, allowing you to relax your mind and take a few deep breaths. Taking a few minutes to walk, talk to a coworker, or use the bathroom can help you disconnect from work and work-related stress. 

Manage Your Stressors

Keeping a journal to track which situations create the most stress and then developing healthy responses to those stressors can reduce their effects on your well-being and performance at work.

Get Support From Others

A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can provide a sense of ease and perspective, help to relax and relieve stress, and even offer solutions to problems. Positive interaction with peers can help you feel respected and valued, which can help to alleviate feelings of burnout.

Additionally, volunteering, community work or even small acts of kindness can help promote resilience, and talking with a manager or HR department can help find a resolution and reduce strain. 

Set Goals That Are Within Your Reach

Setting realistic goals and challenging yourself with achievable tasks within your reach can help manage stress at work. By breaking larger tasks into smaller, more manageable sections and creating schedules for yourself, you can better manage and prioritise your workload, which will help you to manage stress levels better. 

Establish Work-Life Boundaries

Establishing work-life boundaries will help prevent burnout and allow you to invest in your life outside of work. Setting boundaries, such as not checking work emails after hours or leaving physical workspaces at lunch and after hours, can help separate work and home life. 

What can employers do to help employees manage stress in the workplace?

Creating an open culture of clarity and transparency at work helps reduce stress, uncertainty, and conflict. By clearly defining roles and responsibilities, providing employees with the tools they need to succeed, and offering incentives and rewards for good work, employers can help ensure that their workers clearly understand their job expectations.

Additionally, managers should step in when necessary to mediate any workplace discrimination or conflict and take the time to listen to employees' concerns. 

Offering access to Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) or peer support groups to provide employees with mental health support also promotes a positive and supportive workplace.

Our brand-new Stress Awareness Masterclass is a great starting point for helping your employees identify and manage their stress levels. For more details about how this powerful session can make a difference to your team, contact us here.

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