It is no secret that stress is hard on the heart. It can lead to high blood pressure which, if left untreated, can result in heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease has become wide spread – effecting more than 1 in 3 women and is the leading cause of hospitalization among men. The majority of Americans list their jobs as their biggest source of stress, pointing to heavy workloads, pressure to preform, long work hours, office politics and conflicts with coworkers as the largest contributors to their stress.
To manage your workplace stress, it is important to first identify what activities and situations increase your stress, and which ones decrease your stress. Once you’ve identified these factors you can take a more balanced approach to your work, intermixing de-stressing activities with those which cause you the most stress. Here are some common methods for tackling workplace stress:
Make a Plan. Setting realistic deadlines and an outline of what needs to be accomplished can be a huge stress reliever. Knowing where you are going, what steps you need to accomplish to get there, and by when can decrease pressure and make a large project more manageable.
Focus on now. Often our stress leads us to imagine all the things that can go wrong. What if. What if you miss a deadline, what if your presentation AV equipment malfunctions? We can lose ourselves in a world of possibilities. While it is wise to have a plan, and a plan B – letting your mind focus on things that have not yet happened – and may never happen – can lead to an endless cycle of anxiety and stress. Instead, once you have a plan of action, focus on what you can do in this moment.
Take breaks. It may seem counter intuitive but taking a few minutes away from a project can increase your productivity. If you are feeling pressured, stressed or overwhelmed going for a short walk or talking to a colleague can revitalize you and help you gain a fresh perspective.
If you experience persistent, overwhelming stress you should seek help. Contact your health care provider. Some red flags include:
- Body aches, such as headaches, stiff back muscles, etc.
- Mood swings, or a short fuse.
Managing stress isn’t only good for yourself and your employees. Lowering stress at work is good business. High levels of stress affect job performance. Stressed employees tend to make more mistakes, miss more days of works, and have lower overall productivity – not to mention an increased likelihood of higher insurance costs due to medical or workers’ compensation claims.
Stressed employees are also more likely to leave negative reviews on websites such as glassdoor.com, making it more difficult to attract new employees.
Going back to the top stressors in the workplace there are some tips to lower everyone’s overall stress.
Heavy Workloads and long work hours. Make sure employees are given realistic deadlines and clear expectations. Assign team members with lower workloads to assist those who need it, even temporarily.
Office Politics and conflicts with coworkers. Addressing poor behavior within your staff can go a long way to ensuring a harmonious work environment. For instance, employees who are regularly tardy or take more break time than allotted could be a source of resentment among those who are punctual with their time management. Ensuring management staff is being fair in assigning projects and enforcing rules and not “playing favorites” can also be a large part of creating a strong company culture.
For more ideas on reducing stress in and out of the workplace, contact your Independent Insurance Agent at Concklin Insurance Agency.