How Do You Manage Stress At Work? We Need to Know

by Shamsul
Manage Work-Related-Stress
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How Do You Manage Stress At Work? We Need to Know

What are the Procedures for Managing Stress at Work?

Workplace stress or “Stress at work” is an opinion that is now rooted in the corporate vocabulary. Has work-related stress evolved in 2024? What are the procedures for managing stress at work?

What are the Main Factors of Stress at Work in 2024?

A sadly famous anxiety factor is telecommuting.

A model that seduces with its advantages and modernity

During the COVID-19 crisis, telecommuting or working from home was the solution to continue professional or business activities to take health measures. It was immediately favored by many. Remote work has become a model that continues to attract both companies and employees, thanks to its flexibility, freedom, and other benefits. Remote work has various attractions for employees, such as the end of transportation issues and better schedule flexibility.

It is, therefore, not surprising to observe a favorable trend toward this model in the results of a survey conducted by YouGov in September 2021 for Capital magazine. According to the study, 75% of the 1000 employees interviewed wish to continue telecommuting in the following months. However, the average duration of telecommuting per week is more disputed. To understand these results, the age of individuals is an essential criterion to consider. This is highlighted in a survey conducted by YouGov in July 2021 for the recruitment firm Nicholson Search & Selection. The study on 1000 people reveals that 61% of 18-34-year-olds favor 100% remote work.

While it is still too early to talk about 100% telecommuting for everyone, the results show that younger generations are much more favorable to work flexibility than their elders. Remote work has a bright future ahead.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. Telecommuting quickly revealed itself as a double-edged sword. On one hand, its rapid implementation led to many organizational work problems, especially in the management field.

According to a study published by the CGT in September 2021, managers are among the most at risk from remote work. In the report, managers report a sudden increase in workload and pressure caused by telecommuting and the loss of contact with their employees, significantly affecting their work based on relationships. The numbers speak for themselves, with only 8% of managers surveyed feeling “completely confident in being able to detect a situation of discomfort or difficulty within their team.” Indeed, it is reported that less than 2 out of 10 managers had access to remote training, leading to severe anxiety problems resulting in depression in 45% of cases.

On the other hand, working from home, following the continuity of confinement, generates the same psychological risks for individuals. Social isolation is added to professional isolation, anxiety related to goals and equipment issues, and an environment that is not always conducive to work. Combined, these stress factors act as an emotional time bomb for employees.

This is observed in the barometer published at the end of 2021 by the Empreinte Humaine and OpinionWay firm regarding the negative impacts of telecommuting on employees’ mental health. The report highlights alarming figures, with 38% of the 2000 employees surveyed declaring psychological distress, including 12% in high distress. Another worrying assessment concerns the explosion of employee burnout in France. According to the barometer, nearly 2,250,000 employees would be in severe burnout, 2.7 times more than the figure reported in May 2020.

While employee distress is currently high, work-related stress is not new. In 2019, the Indeed website already made a worrying observation in its study “World of Work: I stress; therefore, I am?”. According to the figures reported in the survey, 66% of French respondents declared being stressed by their work. The WHO recognized ” Burnout ” as a “disease” in 2019. However, it is uncertain whether it will be quickly classified as an “occupational disease.” Several factors are responsible for stress in the workplace; among the most common are anxiety related to the intensity of tasks, emotional relationships, and work environment. All these work-related stress factors were well before the COVID-19 crisis, but the upheavals of our current context have certainly amplified them.

Beyond the work framework, it is important to note that the health crisis has had global consequences affecting all individuals. Examples are increased political instability, work-related annoyances, insecurity, or a general climate of panic, especially during the early waves of the crisis. These anxiety factors contribute to individuals’ moral deterioration, which is felt in the workplace.

In a study on employee vulnerabilities published in 2020, Malakoff Humanis highlights the impacts of COVID-19 on employees’ mental health. According to the report, 93% of the 405 executives surveyed declared having at least 1 in 10 employees in a fragile situation for personal and professional reasons. The study highlights two primary sources of pressure on employees: the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic crisis. Of the 2010 employees surveyed, 63% cited fear of contamination, and 53% feared losing their jobs. Half of the employees declared themselves more vulnerable due to the psychological problems caused by the health crisis.

What is work-related stress, and what are its symptoms? What distinguishes between “good stress” and “bad stress”?

It is a well-known word in daily life but with a more obscure definition. “Stress is anxiety, worry…” But what else?

The concept of stress appeared in the 1920s, thanks to researcher Hans Selye. In a few words, the concept refers to “an organism’s response to a given situation,” which is also what its scientific name, General Adaptation Syndrome, emphasizes. From this perspective, stress is a natural and essential phenomenon that affects the organism’s adaptation to daily situations.

However, Hans Selye distinguishes between “positive” and “negative” stress. Positive stress, called “eustress,” manifests as an adrenaline rush in individuals when faced with a specific situation. The person then can focus a lot of energy on a particular action, maximizing their chances of success. In such cases, the organism’s response helps restore balance.

Negative stress, on the other hand, is when the organism’s response is not sufficient to eliminate the source. When the problem is not quickly resolved, stress persists and causes many physiological and psychological damages to the individual. This is then referred to as a state of “distress.” Negative stress manifests in physiological forms, such as body temperature reactions, headaches, insomnia, or decreased concentration.

Is Stress at Work Different from Personal Stress?

According to the Institute of National Research and Safety (INRS), work-related stress is caused by specific factors in the professional environment. Indeed, we can take the definition of the INRS published on its website: “Work-related stress takes place when a person feels an imbalance between what is asked of them in the professional context and the resources they have to respond.” In the list of stress factors, we could mention work overload, emotional demands, and unclear objectives.

Neuroscience doctor Sonia Lupien proposes a second approach to the phenomenon. According to Dr. Lupien, work-related stress is more related to detecting a threat than factors solely derived from professional life.

She identifies two types of stress: absolute stress, which refers to a real threat to life, and relative stress caused by triggers. The triggers, forming the acronym CINÉ, are low control, unpredictability, novelty, and threatened ego.

In the professional context, they could be illustrated as follows:

Telecommuting: having to adapt to new work methods (novelty)

Job uncertainty and lack of organization (unpredictability)

Lack of decision-making power for employees to improve their situation (low control)

Lack of consideration and abusive remarks from colleagues or superiors (threatened ego)

These two approaches are complementary in that individuals’ stress greatly influences work-related stress.

Work pressure presents various effects on health and performance. This can manifest in employees as inefficiency, difficulties communicating with others, or increased absenteeism. It is like a vicious circle of negativity.

In the most severe cases, too much stress accumulation can lead to professional exhaustion: burnout. Overexposure to stress can also lead to serious health consequences for employees.

Employee stress is also felt at the company level, as it brings many economic risks and a high turnover rate. According to the INRS, the costs related to work-related stress represent between 2 and 3 million euros per year in France.

An essential step in stress management: identifying stress in the workplace and self-awareness

It may seem obvious, yet recognizing signs of stress can sometimes be more complex and greatly depends on our self-awareness. At Wiselancer, we consider self-awareness crucial for any professional development perspective. Indeed, each stressful situation has a different impact on each individual. Therefore, it is necessary to identify the reasons why such an event triggers negative emotion in you.

Understanding these factors and the causes of your discomfort in the workplace also allows you to step back from the situation and approach the problem from a more rational perspective. This approach enables you to analyze and understand all your negative emotions and thus avoid developing new sources of stress. Individuals facing intense emotional and physical upheavals caused by stress may feel helpless and increase their stress levels. It’s a true vicious circle!

Self-awareness is not simply knowing your favorite color or other general preferences. It is rather an active interest in the individual’s emotions and feelings and how others perceive them. Self-awareness is thus a long process that requires knowing how to ask for and listen to honest feedback.

Once this self-awareness step is completed, personalized training or coaching on soft skills can be started to strengthen one’s inner strengths and develop new behaviors.

It is a long-term process that can be complex for many people. Where to start? Is there a method? What information to rely on? It is natural for your employees to feel overwhelmed by this challenge.

The best solution is to develop a “Professional Development Plan. We hope, you will succed in managing the stress at work for your employees.

On our blog, you can also find our list of tips in the article “Fighting Employee Stress in 6 Steps”.

Would you like more advice? Do you have good practices to share? Please feel free to express yourself in the comments. Also, if you want help in writing content to drive more traffic and boost conversions, please get in touch through Contact our team or send your requirements here.

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