While the hope is that the office will be a haven of productivity and collaboration, it is also a prime breeding ground for huge amounts of stress. While different people may react differently to stress, it ultimately will hold a business back if left unchecked. In this blog, we’ll explore different kinds of stress, and how you can reduce it in your business.
Why We Feel Stress
Stress is the body’s natural response to unideal situations, its way of preparing to either fight or take flight. During the times of our development, this instinct undoubtedly saved many of our ancestors, but in modern times, this survival tool is somewhat mismatched with the office environment. What’s worse, experts now acknowledge a third response to stress that is particularly detrimental to success in a productivity-focused work environment. This third response is called dysregulation, but more commonly known as freezing up.
While each of these responses had their use at one point, none of them will help the stressed individual today remove themselves from the cause of their stress (or their stressor). Furthermore, the brain sees stress as stress, no matter what causes it. Therefore, physical stress can easily have adverse effects on one’s mental state, and emotional stress can seem physically exhausting.
The Types of Stress, and Where They Come From
The workplace is often notorious for being a stress-filled environment for assorted reasons. The company culture, the workload, and the experience of being in the office itself can compound with the personality and tendencies of each employee to generate stress in different ways. There are plenty of different stressors that can be mixed, as well. They include:
- Physical Stressors - As their name suggests, these are environmental conditions that cause some physical duress, in this way generating stress. Some examples include irritating noises, the presence of an unpleasant or hazardous substance, or even uncomfortable ergonomics.
- Social Stressors - These stressors come from any interpersonal concerns that can cause friction, especially when spending extended periods of time in each other’s company or from an abuse of one’s actual or perceived authority over another. This can be caused by a supervisor abusing their influence, a coworker overstepping boundaries, harassment taking place, or even a client or customer acting poorly.
- Traumatic Stressors - As their name suggests, these stressors are those caused by some event that created mental, emotional, and quite possibly physical pain. Disastrous events are often the root cause of these, but a work-related disaster can have the same effect.
- Career Stressors - Careers are generally stressful things, with no shortage of circumstances that can create a negative experience for a worker. These include a perceived lack of job security, a sense of self-underachievement, or simply a lack of opportunity in their given role. Other stressors can also be tied closely to career influences.
- Task Stressors - The responsibilities a worker has can contribute to their stress, whether they are being pressured to complete them, simply have too many on their plate, are frequently pulled away to do other things, or are either overqualified or underqualified to do them.
- Role Stressors - An employee’s given role is often a source of some stress. If their professional role and their role at home clash, they can be stressed, as they can if their role in the office isn’t explicitly clear.
- Schedule Stressors - Inconsistent and variable work hours, extended and uninterrupted sessions, and long hours spent working overtime are all notorious sources of work-related stress due to scheduling.
- Organizational Change Stressors - Change isn’t always a welcome thing, especially when there was some sense of comfort before the changes were made. Therefore, when new technology is introduced, companies begin to merge, or there are whispers of downsizing, the workplace can become much more stressful - and this additional stress can bleed into the other kinds of work-related stressors, exacerbating them.
One or more of these stressors could very likely be causing each member of your business some degree of distress, likely affecting their well-being, general wellness, and performance in a negative way. However, there are things that you can do within your company to help reduce the stress generated by work procedures, increasing employee happiness and maintaining their productivity.
Fortunately, relieving your office of some of its tension doesn’t require huge projects and grand, sweeping changes. Just encouraging your employees to move around more can create noticeable benefits, as their pent-up stress has an outlet to be worked out through, so support them in walking around during breaks. In addition to the exercise, you may find that your employees may grow closer to their coworkers.
Communicating more clearly with your team about goals and expectations will help to ease tension as well. Plus, by shaping your messages to your staff to be more positively charged and empowering, you not only encourage them to complete their tasks, but also to take pride in what they produce.
You shouldn’t be afraid to have a little fun in the office, either. Showing appreciation by hosting company lunches and allowing your employees to bring in their pets on certain days eases up on some of the tension in the office. Even something as small as switching entirely to decaf coffee in the break room after lunch can make people less stressed and stimulated in the afternoon.
However, some stress may need some major changes made to effectively remedy it - but you may find that these changes can also benefit your business in other ways. For example, reexamine the meetings that are being held, as well as who is sitting in as an attendee. Are there employees spending valuable time on repetitive, ultimately redundant meetings instead of accomplishing the goals you have established for them? Eliminating these meetings and providing your employees with the tools they need to successfully reach the goals you’ve set for them will keep productivity moving forward, as well as streamline communications to take place among those who need to be in-the-know.
Of course, we also did mention how stress can be caused by the introduction of new technology, but that is mostly if this technology is introduced without warning. Introducing new technology can also help relieve the stress that outdated systems and problematic “solutions” create.
That’s where we come in. At Accucom, one of our specialties is to equip businesses like yours with solutions that make their responsibilities easier to fulfill. Want to find out more about what we can do for you and your employees? Call (02) 8825-5555 today.