Updated: Dec 22, 2022
The strains of the COVID-19 pandemic have without a doubt increased stress on employees in the workplace. For 61% of Americans, the workplace is a "significant" source of stress, according to an American Psychological Association survey. The effect of stress has serious consequences on productivity and, at the end of the day, a company's bottom line. Stress wreaks havoc on both the physical and mental well-being of us all. Those effects include illness, depression, lack of energy, lack of focus, constant worry, and little if any creativity.
The stressors include high job demands, inflexible working hours, poor job control, poor work design and structure, safety issues, bullying, harassments, and job insecurity. According to Business News Daily, some of the biggest contributors to workplace stress are micromanaging supervisors, uncommunicative bosses, constant distractions, and zero potential for a higher salary or position – these stymie productivity and gut employee morale, and the effects spill over into other areas of work and employees' personal lives.
Some professions are just highly stressful. My sister is a 911 dispatcher in Orlando, Florida, and takes over 200 calls a day. This is taxing and stressful. 911 calls range from car jackings to someone jumping off a 19-floor building. I remember when she and her co-workers took the call from the Pulse Bar shooter in 2016, killing 49 people and injuring 53. This was devastating on the whole police-force that day. For her, going outside and taking a walk is beneficial for recharging.
So how do you reduce stress on the job? It begins with thinking about what you can do personally to manage the stress. What can you do on a break to recharge yourself? Do you need to leave your workstation, go outside and get fresh air, go for a walk, make a phone call to a friend or family member, shut your eyes, get a drink of water, splash water on your face, listen to music, or even exercise?
Second, reflect upon your job. If you get sick to your stomach, anxious, or upset just thinking about going to your stressful job, then maybe it’s time to reflect on making a change. That change could be a different shift, position, job, or career.
Thirdly, talk with your boss about the stress. I know from experience, that can be difficult. But sometimes that communication can bring small changes that can reap large benefits to lower stressful situations.
I hope those three tips will help you manage stress and be more productive on your job.
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