Job stress is an emotional and physical response of a worker when the job requirements don’t match his resources, needs, and capabilities. In fact, many employees suffer from job stress due to mismanagement of tasks, office culture, and other reasons.
However, note that not all job stressors are harmful to a professional. Experts say that a specific amount of healthy stress encourages workers to rise through challenges and do better at work.
Things only get stressful when challenges build-up and the worker isn’t able to surpass it, causing the staff to reduce productivity or acquire an illness or injury.
MAIN CAUSES OF JOB STRESS
The office environment can cause job stress for some workers. It can either be because of the lack of privacy, inadequate facilities, poor temperature control, or noise-related issues. Whether it’s one of these stated issues or all of them, the condition of the workplace environment is a critical factor that affects an employee’s stress level.
UNFAIR MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
Staff working for companies with an unfair management style are likely to quit during their first two years at the job. The lack of fairness and family-friendly policies increases their job stress level, thus the workers look for better job opportunities with better management styles.
Poor communication is also the main factor in accumulating job stress. Personnel who don’t feel supported or heard during decision-making processes can feel stressed as their contributions to improve business processes aren’t acknowledged by the management.
Being in a relationship at work can cause job stress due to many conflicts that may occur between the parties involved. Professionals in a relationship can attest that it’s partly distracting to have your partner at work and that working together can sometimes be disruptive.
Jealousy is a powerful and negative feeling that distracts workers from focusing on their job. It causes drama and often diverts the attention of workers from their responsibilities to the unexpected event that may occur between those workers in a relationship.
The lack of opportunity to scale or grow with the company is definitely a stressor for many full-time workers. It can cause insecurity as today’s job development continues to grow. A company growing so fast and offering little to no opportunity for its staff to mature and scale is giving its employees reasons to be concerned about their careers.
TASKS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The distribution of tasks can be a big issue between employees and management of the company. The workload, infrequent breaks, and unpaid long hours are some of the relevant work-related factors that cause stress.
An overwhelming or even underwhelming workload without considering an employee’s capability and knowledge is also a factor that stresses an employee.
TIPS TO MANAGE JOB STRESS
FORM GREAT WORK-RELATIONSHIPS
Every employee’s professional relationship is crucial. It affects how employees go through their daily tasks and responsibilities. Friendships create gaps and buffers between stressors and positive ways to manage and alleviate stress.
Here are ways to form positive work relationships at work:
- Speak to your co-workers.
Engage with your colleagues during your breaks. Initiating conversations can create bonds that later forms into unbreakable friendships. However, form bonds beyond the means of gossiping. The foundation of friendship is an eagerness to know more about the other person.
- Encourage personal connection.
Employees who’ve shared personal experiences with each other have deeper relationships that those who don’t. Vulnerability connects people, creating stronger bonds and trust between people.
Exercising is a proven method to improve the mood of a person. In fact, various studies conducted as early as the ‘80s prove that regular exercise can alleviate the mood of people suffering from depression.
A person should be aiming for about 30 minutes of total workout or body activity per day. If you barely have the time to go to the gym, here are some great tips you can do to get moving at work:
- Stretch your limbs from time to time.
Stiffness can occur because of staying in one position for a long time. Employees affected can get grumpy as body aches start to form. To prevent this from happening, stretch your limbs every hour or whenever you go on toilet breaks. This will help loosen muscles and relieve your body with unwanted muscle tension.
- Take a walk on your break.
A great way to spend one of your breaks is to take a walk around your office. Walking helps destress and keep the mind of employees off of things.
KEEP A HEALTHY EATING HABIT
There are many ways employees manage job stress and the worst way to do it is stress-eating. High-calorie foods can give off lethargic effects, affecting productivity and the focus of a worker.
To manage job stress better, start a healthy eating habit by:
- Eating complex carbohydrates like vegetables and pasta
- Consuming high fibre fruits and veggies
- Snacking on superfoods like dark chocolate, berries, and kale
- Sticking to lean proteins like chicken and salmon
- Fatty foods like cheese as sluggishness
- Caffeinated beverages like soda and coffee as they affect your sleep pattern
- Foods with refined sugar as they cause sugar high which then cause you to crash after
- Alcohol as it’s a natural depressant
REST AND SLEEP
Irritability and loss of focus is sometimes a result of lack of sleep. However. Studies reveal that inadequate sleep can also cause stress. The restlessness inhibits a person’s ability to manage stress better, resulting in a cranky or depressed version of an employee.
To guarantee a good night’s rest:
- Aim to sleep for 8 hours a night.
Forget about the stigma where sleep isn’t required as time is of the essence. Know that productivity is best achieved when both the body and mind are well-rested. Don’t deprive yourself with a basic necessity!
- Make a sleeping schedule.
Make it a habit of hitting the haystack at the same time every night. Your internal body clock will soon follow, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up the same time every day.
- Sleep in no more.
Though sleeping in can be tempting, especially on a weekend, avoid doing so. Sleeping in throws your internal clock into haywire, undoing every progress you’ve made in your sleeping schedule.
- Set a screen time limit at night.
Disengaging with any devices 1 hour before you go to bed relaxes your mind and helps you sleep better at night. So be sure to turn off your TV, phone, tablet, or laptop an hour before you go to bed.
- Set quick nap times.
Nap times or cat nap should only be taken for 15-20 minutes to re-energise your body with much-needed strength to go through your day. Avoid catnapping later than 6 pm as it hinders you from falling asleep quickly at night.
STAY ORGANISED AND LEARN TO PRIORITISE
There are many things to stress over at work nowadays. Deadlines are quick to catch up as many employees feel that 8 hours a day isn’t just enough to finish all such tasks. These can all be overwhelming and the key is to learn how to stay organised and determine which tasks to prioritise daily.
- Set daily objectives.
Your daily objectives will vary day by day. Determine which tasks to prioritise within the day and make time to achieve that. Having a clear goal will give you a direction and will help you see which tasks to prioritise within the day.
- Set deadlines.
A smart way to avoid pending tasks is to set deadlines for them all. Tasks without deadlines tend to get pushed ahead as priority tasks will take over your day. The general rule is to set a realistic deadline to guarantee that everything gets done in time.
KICK BAD HABITS AWAY
Every employee has at least one bad habit they have to kick off. One common habit employees tend to have is coming to work with a negative mindset already. One’s point-of-view can change everything which means simply having a positive outlook in life can help you manage job stress better.
Bad habits you should start kicking off right away:
All people struggle with the concept of perfectionism. Resist your fear of making mistakes and committing failures. With failures, you come to learn new things and discover better ways to accomplish your tasks. Fight the urge to be perfect and be happy with your improvements.
- Controlling the uncontrollable.
For professionals aiming to do great things at work, uncertainty and losing control is a source of great anxiety. Focus on the variables that you can control and let go of those that you can’t. There are many factors that can help you succeed and it’s best to put all your efforts into those.
- Negative thoughts.
To counteract your negative thoughts, express gratitude. People fail to recognise that all of us have at least one thing to be grateful for each day. Create a vortex of unending positivity and all else will follow.
- Inability to say NO.
Yes! Saying yes to everything is a bad habit. Learn to say no when necessary. It’s not an employee’s responsibility to take part in every project of the office. Learn to analyse when you have already reached your limits and can no longer take a bigger workload.
There is no one way of dealing with job stress. It’s inevitable. However, there are various positive ways to manage job stress and if you have a way to manage yours, please share them in the comments section below!