These days everyone talks a lot about how stressful their jobs are. We do this in a rather casual way though. After all, it’s only a bit of stress, not a major physical ailment. Feel lucky that you have your health and learn to live with the fact that most days you leave work feeling like you have been hit by a ten ton truck.
What too many people do not realize is that stress causes many physical ailments, and it is far more of a problem than most people think. Including employers who do not understand just what work related stress is doing to their employees’ productivity and the company’s bottom line.
In a report published by the career site Monster, some rather eye-opening figures emerged about just what work related stress is doing to working Americans. Some ‘lowlights’ included:
- Approximately 1 in 6 Americans consider their work to be very or extremely stressful.
- The average stress related case of illness lasts just over 30 working days and is the single biggest factor contributing to work-related ill-health
- Stress is the second most commonly reported reason for work-related ill-health, just behind musculoskeletal issues (usually caused by all that time spent sitting at a desk.)
None of this is good news for the average employer but it is even worse news for the employees themselves. What these and similar statistics show though is that work related stress is not something to be ignored or simply ‘dealt with’.
There is no magic pill or potion for getting rid of stress (whatever you may have read) and for most, giving up work and going to live on a beach is not an option. What you can do as a manager however is resolve to help your employees – and yourself – by acknowledging the impact of workplace stress, and by sharing some simple tips below that experts say are very effective in helping to manage it.
Identify Stress Triggers
Everyone has certain things that ‘set them off’ and turn what might have been a pleasant day at work into a stress filled nightmare. It might be a boss who never quite seems to understand that sixteen hours worth of work cannot be fit into eight.
It might be a difficult coworker. It might be a continual worry you are not performing ‘up to standard.’ Or it might be ten other completely different things.
The important thing is that you try to identify just what the most stressful parts of your day really are. Once you do this, you can work on each problem individually.
Take a Break
Working through breaks is not productive. The longer you go between actually getting away from it all for a few minutes the more frustrated you will become.
The Bar is Not the Answer
Many people feel that if they can just have a beer, or a glass of wine or two at the end of the day everything will be OK (until tomorrow) Alcohol is not a good way to manage stress though and neither is running out for a cigarette to ‘calm you down’ when things get just a bit too much at work.
Exercise is not just good for your physical health but it’s a big boost for your mental well-being too. If you don’t usually take the time to do a lot of formal exercise , you might be very surprised just how much better you feel after a session at your local gym or a run around the neighborhood.
Get a Massage
Massages are not things that should be reserved for holidays and they are not an expensive luxury. Study after study has shown that there are huge mental and physical benefits to be gained from a massage and stress relief is a big part of that.
There are actually some employers who have been savvy enough to realize that massage is indeed a stress buster and that by offering them in the workplace they can actually increase employee productivity by decreasing stress.