One of the most arduous barriers to a healthy workplace is stress. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the United States defines work-related stress as negative emotional responses accompanied by physical means that arise when job requirements do not meet the worker’s talents, resources, or needs. Workplace stress can result in depression, anxiety, and sometimes even severe disease.
Many employees report feeling stressed at work, which harms their performance and health. A Yale University survey found that 29% of workers experience extreme stress due to their jobs. According to CIISec’s 2020/21 State of the Profession study, over half (51%) of cybersecurity professionals are awakened by workplace stress and work obstacles at night. Additionally, 80% of respondents reported that employees across all firms were more stressed or anxious throughout the crisis.
How to Reduce Stress to Create a Healthy Work Environment?
The real question is how to reduce/remove workplace stress and create a better work environment. In this article, we are going to discuss the same.
Workplace Wellness Programs
The first step is to encourage workplace wellness for a healthy environment.Exercise and a healthy lifestyle are two of the most effective ways to combat professional stress. Mind diversion, losing focus, panicking are normal; exercising allows employees to relax and concentrate on the task at hand. Increased synthesis of endorphins, the brain’s feel-good chemicals, also enhances mood.
- Encourage staff to go for a lunchtime walk.
- Subsidize gym subscriptions.
- Bring a yoga instructor into the office once a month.
- Arrange extracurricular activities like mind games, outdoor games, indoor games, quizzes.
- Organize a team-based step competition for those who own fitness trackers.
- Provide healthful snacks.
- When employees believe you are concerned about their health, they feel valued.
Define Your Limits
It’s easy to feel pressured to be available 24 hours a day in the modern digital environment. Make some work-life distinctions for yourself. Making a guideline not to read emails from home at night or not picking up the phone throughout dinner could help with this. People have varied choices regarding how much work and home life are blended, but drawing clear lines between these worlds can help lessen the risk of work-life conflict and the stress that comes with it.
Stress can lead to the disorganization of tasks and missing out on priorities. Therefore, a triage workflow should be adhered to maintain a healthy workplace. The best example here is the stress management of cybersecurity and information security experts. They face the most stress because of global digitalization and increased cyber threats. Yet security teams frequently use linear triaging techniques to investigate one system or artifact at a time. It helps them in staying focused while reducing stress. For instance, when they pursue a method to apply preventive defenses to high-priority sim swap breach mitigation, they may overlook a vital indication that the threat arrived through a relatively low prioritized workstation that can result in a disaster—missing the details and repercussions when they first acknowledged the sim swap incident. A minor threat can lead to a million-dollar loss, increased stress, and more. So, they must create a proper response with this identification, and that’s what keeps them sane and us safe. We can learn from them and implement their best practices in our work lives to deal with stress.
Doing just one section at a time is an incredibly effective technique to increase productivity. So, focus on one thing at a time to reduce workplace stress. It is not advisable to be tricked by duties to reduce workload stress. Even if you are doing multiple jobs requiring attention and concentration, doing various projects at once is usually not the ideal approach to achieve something. Determine the optimal order for accomplishing dedicated tasks within the same priority category as a substitution; begin with the essential work and move on to the next once you complete the first.
Set earlier task completion timelines, such as extending a day or two to alleviate deadline stress, and then praise yourself for achieving those targeted deadlines. Adding a cushion is also beneficial because it allows you to plan for the possibility of delays. You should ask for products up to two days ahead of time to meet the deadline.
Re-Energize, Refresh, Refocus
We need time to refill and return to our pre-stress level of functioning to avoid the detrimental impacts of chronic stress and burnout. This healing process necessitates “switching off” from work for periods when you are not engaged in job-related activities or thinking about work. That is why it is vital that you disconnect from time to time for your requirements and tastes. Don’t throw away your vacation days. Take time off when you can to relax and unwind so you can return to work feeling refreshed and ready to perform at your best. When you can’t take time off, give yourself a lift by turning off your phone and focusing on something other than work for a bit.
Companies in France and the United Kingdom understand that allowing their workers to travel is excellent to relieve stress. France gives an average of 37 vacation days per year, while employees in the United Kingdom have 26. In the United States, the average worker gets 14 days of holiday. Vacation boosts productivity and enhances mental wellbeing. The simple act of “getting away from it all,” even for a day, a week, or more, can reduce stress significantly. Clean air and sunlight are beneficial to our health. Clean air increases the amount of oxygen in our blood, which provides us with more energy. Sunshine has a mood-lifting effect and can help people avoid depression. Toss away any schedules while on holiday. Sleep early, stay up late and do things when it’s convenient for you. The entire point of a “getaway” is to “get away” from the monotony of daily life.