Many people believe that stress begins and ends at the office. This is patently untrue, but stress management at work has become a burning issue.
Including commute time, the average office worker spends between 10 and 12 hours daily at work – the major part of a day. This probably explains the emphasis on work stress.
Stress management at work begins by understanding a few basics about stress.
- Stress is your body’s response to any demands made on it.
- Situations or events that cause stress are called “stressors”.
- A detrimental stressor is called “distress”.
o “Di” means “two” in Greek. Think of double trouble.
o Distress can be disabling or crippling.
- A beneficial stressor is called “eustress”.
o “Eu” means “good” in Greek. Think of joy and laughter.
o Eustress can be pleasant or healing.
When work relationships, events, or other situations make demands on your body, your body will respond in distress or eustress. Often, the choice is a result of stress management at work.
How Achievable is Stress Management at Work?
Stress management at work is not only achievable, it is also beneficial to both employer and employee. Many programs attempt to teach stress management at work – offering a goal of total elimination of stress. Stress levels remain about the same, though, if not greater than in the past. Stress is not being eliminated.
Stress management at work cannot totally eliminate stress, but that is good news. You need stress to operate efficiently and productively. What stress management at work can do is teach you how to control distress, changing it to eustress whenever possible.
Suggestions for Stress Management at Work
Stress management at work can be an employer’s compulsory program for employees or an individual stress management program. It should include the following five tips as starters.
1. Stress Management at Work Tip #1 – Stressor ID
At the first feeling of stress, stop and identify the stressor. Write it down, with description. Distinguish as to whether it is distress or eustress. Submit an anonymous feedback form to your employer, if appropriate. This will facilitate stress management at work.
2. Stress Management at Work Tip #2 – Follow-up
Employers will want to follow-up immediately on feedback forms. Take action to correct the situation that caused an employee to submit stressor information. Stress management at work is most effective when action is swift. Caution: Distinguish between “need” and “desire” when handling anonymous feedback.
3. Stress Management at Work Tip #3 – Laughter
Laughter is vital medicine for your body. It helps release the chemicals of eustress that relax neck and back muscles. In turn, the brain relaxes, refocuses, and is able to think more clearly and quickly. The end result is improved productivity and efficiency. Take time to laugh or smile broadly at stressors. Such stress management at work can turn distress into beneficial eustress.
4. Stress Management at Work Tip #4 – Take 5
Stress management at work can often be as simple as giving eustress time to do its work. Create a “eustress place”, either indoors or out. Employers can provide reading, relaxation, or exercise rooms. They can combine all of these in one room. Employees can go for walks, or find quiet spots away from the office to do some light, non-business reading.
5. Stress Management at Work Tip #5 – Balance
Finally, both employer and employees should work together to achieve balance in life. Got an employee that arrives at 7 AM because he is a morning person and is most effective in the quiet hours of early morning? Remove all pressure, from yourself and colleagues, for that person to remain until 6 PM because “everyone else stays”.
Begin with these tips and you will soon find yourself effectively defusing and managing work stress.