Employee Well-being Lifestyle

Manifestations of Stress in the Work Environment

Nowadays, the emphasis is often on stress-free workplaces, but at any of the workplaces in the world, at some point, employees will face stress. Whether it’s a missed task, the end of a fast-paced deadline, or a single misspelled word in a document, the smallest detail can often cause unnecessary stress. People can try to reduce it to avoid its negative consequences, but we cannot completely avoid that. Realizing that such a problem exists in general, and that we are affected by it, is the most important aspect of this issue, so we can start talking about any change.

What do companies lose due to employee stress?

Any project, work, a task needs boundaries or deadlines. Without them, it is difficult for both the company and the employee to plan further actions and set relatively specific goals. True, deadlines are one of the biggest causes of regular stress. A survey conducted by ComPsych in the United States shows that 66% of employees experience difficulty concentrating due to work-related stress. It is also estimated that businesses in the United States suffer a loss of about $300 billion each year. [1] Does this mean that the employer should completely get rid of any deadlines? Probably not, but finding this “golden mean” between certain freedom and restriction could help.

What do employees lose due to stress?

Of course, an employee’s health can suffer much, but we’ll talk about that a little later. Due to the stress caused, people lose productivity, which is not beneficial for any employer, but it also has disadvantages for the employee himself. When productivity is lost, so does the time we spend at work, because it means that each task requires more time to complete. This, in turn, directly affects personal life. One has to spend much more time working, when this person could relax at home for a long time if he worked effectively. The precious time that could be spent in various sports activities, meeting friends, learning something new and useful, etc., is lost. Time is each of our most precious resources, which we can give to others and use ourselves, but due to stress, we lose more and more of it, and we unknowingly start using it in vain.

Health effects of stress

We know that any kind of anxiety can cause serious health problems in the long run. We stay at work 40 hours a week as a minimum, so it is crucial to take care of ourselves. In a stressful situation, the human body begins to behave much differently than usual – the muscles contract and become tense, and the heart rate increases rapidly. These phenomena may also disappear quite smoothly, as the body slowly calms down, but it can seamlessly introduce changes in other parts of the body. This, in turn, creates an enormous strain on both the body and the mind and makes it difficult for the body to function properly. [2]

Effects on mental health

A little stress is normal for everyone, but we should look for solutions if it starts to happen regularly. The sooner we begin to deal with it, the more likely we will prevent it and avoid unpleasant consequences. Regular stress has the greatest impact on a person’s mental health. This can lead to burnout, depression, and their milder and more severe manifestations. Burnout is one of the most widespread problems in today’s workplace. Today, relatively many more employees face it than before. It is increasingly difficult to say why we face this problem, but one thing is clear, it needs to be tackled, so it is essential to try to identify it. Burnout can most often be caused by internal workplace processes, such as too many responsibilities, inherently inconsistent values with the company, lack of communication and co-operation between colleagues.

Effects on physical health

  • Stress can just as well harm a person’s physical health. The already mentioned sleep, which is necessary for the functioning of any body, can be disturbed by stress, which can also contribute to other health problems.
  • It can also introduce changes in various eating habits; for example, doing work until late at night occupies the mind so much that it consumes a considerable amount of energy, so a person takes the last meal shortly before going to bed, which is not very healthy.
  • Also, experiencing regular stressful situations can lead to severe headaches caused by a combination of conditions and anxious feelings in the body.
  • The biggest consequences that stress can have on a person’s physical health are a weakening of the immune system and an increased risk of heart disease. This makes the human body more vulnerable and powerless to various other diseases and harms and puts them at risk of irreversible health problems [3].

Signs of a healthy workplace

In fact, the employer has to take great responsibility for his employees, because the better they feel in their workplace, the better they will perform the necessary tasks. Accordingly, as employee productivity increases, so will the entire company’s productivity, and much higher goals will be achieved. If we look at different modern workplaces, we can see that there are so many different variations in how we can make this environment pleasant, safe and healthy.

Company examples

Printful is a vivid example of a workplace that really shows concern for its workforce. Apart from the various other benefits that employees receive, they can dine on the spot in the office every day, but the offers are huge, and everyone can find what they want. All of these meals are very healthy and changeable, which can positively motivate employees to focus on a healthier diet daily and think about varied and high-quality meals outside of work. The gym subscription is also fully paid for, which allows you to be active or sometimes just engage in activities by moving yourself. It is a huge motivator to start active sports, which has proven to be an excellent way to reduce stress.

Google was one of the first to introduce special places in its offices where it is possible to relax and sleep for a while, the so-called power nap, so you can continue working with a fresh head. Likewise, even tiny details that may even be difficult for someone to notice can affect the workplace atmosphere. A good example is the healthier drinks in the refrigerator at about arm’s length and at eye level, while at the bottom of the refrigerator, there are various sodas, lemonades and other sugary drinks, which can motivate people to choose healthier options. The same applies to food. For example, in the kitchen or cafe, the fruits that are freely visible and stored will definitely increase their uptake over time compared to when someone should ask or look for them.

Brandwatch is recognized as one of the most employee-friendly workplaces in the world. As everyone spends most of their time on electronic devices, regular rest is crucial. Therefore, this company offers its employees free yoga and massage visits on site. This allows employees to relax, and the employee no longer has to worry about finding another place to do these activities, as they are free and take place right next door. The successful effect of both of these activities in reducing stress has been shown to be very effective, which means that the average stress level should be relatively low.

HSBC offers its employees a health monitoring program. It provides ongoing assistance to any employee who has encountered a problem that could disrupt the work process through UGMH (United for Global Mental Health). The company emphasizes the importance of talking about mental health problems that anyone can face, as this is the only way to start tackling them. This program not only allows to improve the current situation in the company itself on this issue, but it also allows to see the real situation in practice, which, accordingly, provides important data for various studies to further find solutions to this problem. TheInn, these results may later be useful in reducing the stress risks of other sectors and companies forever. [4]

If there were to be a number of key features of a truly healthy workplace, they would be:

  • Healthy eating options
  • Promoting an active lifestyle
  • Creating a friendly team
  • General care for the employee’s mental health and work atmosphere

Tips for fighting stress

The easiest thing we can do ourselves to avoid is to do everything we can to avoid such situations, that is, to do all the tasks better in time, think about our actions, and act wisely so that we do not have any unpleasant surprises. Stress relief can be quite personal in contrast to different aspects, so it is necessary to try different options and find the option that works best for you. And it can be anything, like pushing a stress ball regularly, listening to classical music, or dancing.

  • It is imperative to find time to relax and dedicate time to yourself. Rest not only calms the body, but also refreshes the mind and organizes thoughts
  • Efforts must be made to avoid unnecessary thoughts on the sore topic. Tenzin Gyatso, or the Dalai Lama has said: “If the problem can be solved, then it will be solved, but if it cannot be solved, then it is not worth worrying about.”
  • It is important to find a balance between work and home so as not to overload either. It also includes effective time planning to include everything you need for a balanced lifestyle on a daily basis

In the 21st century, stress is undoubtedly a pressing issue, probably more pressing than ever before. It affects most people in the world, and it does not benefit anyone at all. Stress can affect a person’s daily life, as well as complicate the daily life of people related to him. This can cause many health problems that can have indelible consequences in the long run. Despite the negative effects of stress, there are enough opportunities and resources to combat and stop it. It is important to be aware of how often a person is exposed to this problem in order to successfully and timely combat it and avoid unpleasant consequences.

Sources:

[1]https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/2267-workplace-stress-health-epidemic-perventable-employee-assistance-programs.html

[2]https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/how-to-handle-stress-at-work-2019041716436

[3]https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body#1

[4]https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/blog/7-companies-making-job-stress-free-possible/

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