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4 months ago by Maura O'Hea

Workplace Stress: How Much is Too Much?

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Workplace stress is becoming increasingly common as 58% of employees reported some form of stress at work during 2020.

Even though the pandemic had a huge impact on the amount of stress that was experienced over the last year, it’s not to say managing it should be disregarded just because the lockdown restrictions are easing, and the world is getting back to “normal.”

Despite some employees feeling motivated when working under pressure, others want to curl up into a ball when their workload gets too much. It’s all comes down to the individual, how they react to an increase in stress and what they do to manage it.

But how much stress is too much stress?

The Breaking Point

When 62% of employees would rather have more “me time” over money, that’s a strong indicator that the stress levels at work have got too high.

Work related stress can cause a number of common symptoms such as low energy, headaches, loss of appetite and even insomnia. It’s importance to notice these changes before you cross that line between “stressed” and “burnout.”

According to a Gallup study in 2018, there were 15 factors that correlated highly with employee burnout. Here are the 5 main factors that most highly correlated:

  1. Unfair treatment at work
  2. Unmanageable workload
  3. Lack of role clarity
  4. Lack of communication and support from manager
  5. Unreasonable time pressure

An excessive amount of time spent managing those factors can deteriorate the individual performance of the employee which, in turn, will affect the organisational performance too. It’s therefore important to ensure these factors are managed properly to reduce work related stress across the board.

Managing Workplace Stress

It goes without saying that employers should always strive to support their employee’s wellbeing. As part of a good company culture and for higher employee engagement, managing stress should be a top priority.

Keeping on top of stress levels in the workplace can reduce the number of stress sickness days which, in turn, can improve turnover as the average cost of absence in an organisation is equal to 3% of payroll.

Data from absence management platform, e-days, found that the number of stress sickness days recorded has increased by 113% in just two years. Therefore, it’s vital that employers tackle the reason for any stress related sick days, not only for their employees’ benefit, but for a healthy bottom line too.

Here are 3 ways you can manage stress at work:

  1. Building resilience is a great way to tackle the stress head on so when you’re faced with unexpected challenges, you respond without fear. It’s easier said than done but resilience can be learnt so the more you practice it, the better you will get at it.
  2. Displaying assertiveness can also help to reduce stress. Being assertive is an important communication skill that will allow you to navigate challenging situations calmly. You can deal with the frustration of others with confidence to turn a stressful situation into an efficient problem-solving solution.
  3. Establishing trust between leaders and their teams can open up that awkward barrier of communication about stress. Be proactive with the support on offer to employees and earn their respect so they feel comfortable discussing their stresses with you.

Do You Need to Find a Less Stressful Job?

Check out our current vacancies here to find your next stress-free role.

Or drop us an email [email protected] and we would be more than happy to help you with your next job opportunity.