In Stress

Stress. Yes or no?

This material brings to light a problem that affects the employees of companies with effects both at an individual level, and on profit.

The data presented below have the purpose of encouraging everyone to act for reducing personal stress by trying to detect our own stressors, find practical solutions and our own instruments for managing our stress level. Nowadays, the word “stress” has found its way into our day to day vocabulary. Even though we can relate to those complaining about stress, being something we experience daily, and a lot of us are worried about its presence in our lives, the majority of us lack the necessary abilities to recognize or diminish the negative effects of stress.

The Society of Stress Management in the Great Britain defines stress as being a situation where requirements superseed an individual’s resources or their capacity to manage the situation.

How can you see if stress is beyond optimal levels in your company?

It is not always easy to detect the signs of stress. Nevertheless, from a company perspective, the signs that you should pay attention to include:

  • High absenteeism or rising number of sick leave
  • Low motivation among the employees
  • Numerous complaints from clients
  • Organizational culture that includes working overtime
  • Employees that don’t use all of their vacation days
  • A “frowny” work environment
  • Low productivity and efficiency
  • Lowered profits
  • High fluctuation of personnel

The results of a study

Stress in the workplace is an important problem at a labor market level that leads to lowered profits for companies, reduces the efficiency of employees and makes them quit their job.

British Agency for Health and Safety at Work has conducted a study that reveals some aspects to consider. Among them, these are some worth mentioning:

  • Stress affects one in five employees at all levels
  • It is the most important factor for diseases in the Great Britain
  • More than 105 million workdays are lost annually in the Great Britain, the associated costs being over £1,24 billion
  • 11% of absences from work are due to stress
  • 52% of the respondents say that their stress level is rising
  • 60% of the respondents say that stress is harmful for employee retention
  • 83% say that stress leads to decreased productivity

The study is based on replies from almost 700 managers from the human resources field and of over 2000 employees.

Pressure at the workplace is not a bad thing. In fact, a lot of employees are stimulated by it. However, problems appear when the pressure supersedes the ability of an individual to tackle tasks. Therefore, we can manage the problem of stress either by reducing pressure on individuals, by increasing the resources they have available, or a combination of the two approaches.

The usual stressors of day to day life

Problems are part of our lives. If you don’t have problems, if you don’t confront difficult situations, you’re not really living… There are periods of time when financial difficulties, disputes or challenges become harder to bear, resulting in a significant increase of our stress levels. Some of the day to day stressors are:

  1. We don’t have enough time: When you’re hurrying all day to meet deadlines or complete different tasks (including being a taxi driver for your children), at the end of the day you can feel exhausted. You need to prioritize the things you need to do first.
  2. We have unhealthy habits: Eating fast-food, smoking, excessively drinking are all factors that can contribute to physical stress. All of the above prevent you from managing challenges.
  3. We take on more than we can do: Wanting to impress others is normal, especially in the corporate arena. “Biting off more than you can chew” leads to failure. Therefore, be honest with yourself and take on only the tasks you’re certain you can do well.
  4. We have unrealistic expectations: A sure way to disappointment. Therefore, when things don’t go your way, you become upset and stressed.
  5. We deprive ourselves from relaxation: The strain can be the result of the fact that you can’t take a break from a daily busy agenda. If the situation continues over a longer period, it can have negative effects on your health.

In summary, if we want to be more productive and increase our companies’ profits, we need to apply practical instruments of setting priorities, managing time, problem solving, implementing change, managing conflict and mindfulness – just to name a few areas that lead to increased stress levels.