Stress in the workplace is a reality for most people at some point, although some handle it better than others. With remote working and a hybrid workforce introducing a new realm of workplace stressors. The American Psychological Association report on Stress in America found that the majority of people (61 percent) cite work as a source of stress, and a Paychex survey identified the top three sources of stress at work as:
- Complicated or hard work
- Long or erratic hours
- A lack of control at work or a lack of resources
While these factors cannot always be avoided, it’s entirely possible to manage stress better by equipping yourself with the right skills.
Understand the Impact of Stress in the Workplace
Stress is a real issue, and depending on the severity of it, it can have a significant impact on the mental and physical well-being of employees. we can’t ignore that working from home can create added stress, with the constant juggle of work and personal life. Chronic stress can lead to health issues for individuals, such as increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, and stroke.
Stress in the workplace also impacts business performance. According to Harvard research, higher levels of stress lead to more missed days at work, costing U.S. businesses $30 billion per year. Fortunately, an investment in skills training can help employees at every age, experience level, and in any department reduce their stress by learning to manage challenging situations more effectively.
3 Crucial Stress Management Skills
1. Time Management
Managing time to be optimally productive—and not just active—helps reduce stress by making it easier for employees to meet their deadlines, manage expectations, and achieve their goals. Some of the most practical tactics to use for managing time better include:
- Writing to-do lists
- Understanding what is urgent
- Prioritizing tasks
- Defining goals and the paths to reach them
- Proactively scheduling tasks
- Making weekly plans
Training sessions and individual coaching focused on time management teach employees how to plan their time, handle interruptions, prioritize incoming tasks, and alter their behavior to overcome procrastination. All of which lower stressful situations because employees are able to manage them.
2. Conflict Resolution
Whether between individuals, teams, or competing priorities, conflicts arise in the workplace all the time and can be major contributors to stress. Employees who develop strategies for handling these types of situations will not only reduce their own stress levels, but will contribute to a more collaborative work environment. Some of the strategies that help reduce stress related to conflict include:
- Using active listening skills to understand other perspectives
- Having an open group conversation in which everybody has a chance to speak
- Addressing the issue in a timely manner to avoid further escalation
- Knowing when it is appropriate to escalate the issue
Ignoring conflicts—or engaging in them—is a sure way to increase stress and tension. Equipping employees with the tools they need to effectively address conflicts as soon as they arise benefits everyone.
3. Project Management
Successfully managing a project can help prevent stressful situations from arising in the first place. Although everybody experiences crunch time or an emergency every now and then, it should not be the norm. With the following project management skills, employees will be better able to deliver results without unnecessary stress:
- Set realistic deadlines and make a plan to stay on top of them.
- Use time management skills to avoid unnecessarily working long hours.
- Learn how to prioritize tasks so that the most urgent work is completed on time.
- Set realistic goals and allocate resources appropriately.
- Implement an effective communication plan.
- Incorporate risk management and contingency plans.
While it might not be possible to entirely avoid stressful situations in the course of managing a project, it is possible to minimize them.
Learning to Manage Stress
Stress is a real issue that has an impact on both individuals and organizations. Taking steps to avoid stress and giving people the tools to handle stress when it’s unavoidable will help you create a healthier, happier, and more productive workplace. Although there are many ways to teach new skills, experiential learning has one of the highest retention rates, enabling participants to quickly and effectively practice and then apply their new stress management skills on the job.