Learning how to cope with stress at work is very important and once you’ve successfully managed your stress at work, you’ll be much more happy at your job. Being stress-free at work is one of the best ways to do your job to its full capacity.
Some of these potential sources of stress include:
- Role conflict
- Role ambiguity
- Working relations
- Control (or lack of it)
- Feedback (or lack of it)
- Support from colleagues (or lack of it)Uncertainty over job future
This list does not include stressors outside of the workplace that can also affect your performance. These may, for example, be family demands which place particular strain on dual career or single-parent households. Marital problems, caring for elderly parents, health issues affecting a family member and concerns over children can all affect us at work. There are, in addition, sources of workplace stress that should never be tolerated. These are sexual harassment, unsafe working conditions and violence in the workplace. These three sources of workplace stress need to be taken extremely seriously and addressed at managerial level.
Generally speaking, workplace stress arises in four main areas:
- Lack of control over your work or working environment
- Uncertainty over work-related issues
- A prevailing dysfunctional conflict
- The general demands of work or specific tasks
It is important to address each of these areas when attempting to reduce stress in the workplace. Managers and employees need to work together to develop effective stress management policies and programs. Stress at work does not just come from the individual stressors listed earlier but can be a direct result of job demands such as a heavy workload and long hours. If these job demands result in too high a level of stress than they need to be adapted on all levels, including policies and procedures, as well as on the part of the worker.
Company climate sets the tone for the amount of stress experienced in the workplace. If the working environment is one where personal needs and feelings are considered, the potential amount of stress will be decreased. If, however, the working atmosphere is one where people distrust one another and indulge in gossip and back-biting then correlating stress will be increased. Another source of stress in the workplace is uncertainty over, for example, job security, changes in management or changes in working practices.
A lack of clear direction in the workplace also places a great deal of stress upon workers. Effective guidance, on the other hand, reduces costly errors which may, in fact, occur as a result of stress caused by ambiguity. The more critical the task, the greater the need to communicate it directly and clearly to those involved in its execution. Clear communication improves individual and group performance and greatly decreases workplace stress.
As stress in the workplace impacts not only individual workers but the performance of the company or organization as a whole, it makes sense to learn how to address it so that it is managed and eliminated where possible. Learning how to deal with stress at work is vital for our health, wealth and wellbeing, whether we are employers or employees. Follow the guidelines in this article and you will be well on the way to achieving the ideal of a working life free from unnecessary, unproductive stress.