Any job can have elements of workplace stress, even if you love what you do. Some stress is normal and can be good; however, excessive stress can hinder productivity and derail physical and emotional health. Your ability to effectively deal with stress can mean the difference between success and failure and can even lead to poor health or injury.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), three-fourths of employees believe that workers have more on-the-job stress than generations ago. Twenty-six percent of workers said they were “often or very often burned out or stressed by their work.” Job stress prompts longer periods of employee disability than other types of work-related injuries or illnesses do. Their job stress is more strongly associated with health complaints than financial or family problems.
The American Psychological Association (APA) reports, 75 percent of employees consider their jobs to be a major source of stress. More than half say stress negatively affects their productivity levels and almost half concede that they aren’t taking vacations as a result of work-related stress. In addition, half are considering a new, less-stressful position.
The Cost of Stress.
The APA reports that of absenteeism, reduced productivity levels, and employee turnover from workplace stress costs U.S. businesses roughly $300 billion a year. In a time when companies are struggling to find affordable plans for their employees, workplace stress is costing these same companies with increased medical and insurance fees. It is reported, that in recent years, General Motors spent more on health care than it did on steel.
According to the Attitudes in the American Workplace survey, 80% of workers feel stress on the job and almost half need help learning how to manage stress. The same respondents report 42% of their coworkers also need help to manage stress.
How can we manage workplace stress?
In many cases, there are situations you can’t control in your work environment, but that doesn’t mean you’re powerless—even when you’re stuck in that daunting, pervasive problem, there are ways to reduce its impact on your employees and your companies bottom line.
Finding ways to manage stress isn’t about making huge changes or rethinking career ambitions, but rather about focusing on the things that are within your control and working with them.
The concept of stress at work is often confused with a challenge, but these concepts are not the same. Being challenged can energize us psychologically and physically, and it can motivate us to learn new skills and leads to mastery in our job. When a challenge is met, we feel energized and satisfied. Thus, challenge is an important ingredient to be healthy and productive at work.
A healthy work environment is one where the pressures on employees are relevant to their knowledge, skills, and available resources, to the amount of control they have over their work, and the support they receive.
Ultimately, it is important to understand employee stress drivers and implement a program focused on reducing workplace stressors without singling out employees. For the month of May, we are offering a complimentary individual Workplace Stress Assessment. If you would like to complete a free Workplace Stress Assessment or have questions about this article, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.