According to the Regus Group, “Stress levels in the workplace are rising with 6 in 10 workers in major global economies experiencing increased workplace stress.” In the United Kingdom, work-related illness cost £28.3 billion per year according to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
The increasing levels of job-related stress are taking a toll on our health in the Caribbean. Occupation stress increases the risk of heart attack, accelerate the aging process and raise the risk of diabetes, according to range of 2012 studies by the University College London.
Work factors can induce stress. For instance, job fit and job satisfaction, a lack of autonomy or work overload. I suggest looking at the aspects of the job you enjoy and work towards a position that involves that skill set, negotiating better incentives, establishing a work-life balance, or simply moving on by looking for a new job or gaining the skill set for a different career.
However, more than likely stress management is left up to you to manage. The more valid information you have, the more control you will have over your responses. Identify the changes in how you perceive things, how you react (bodily sensations) and how you respond.
Here are some of the common changes:
the mind (poor concentration, over-thinking, negative perceptions),
the body (tension, fatigue, heart palpitations) or
behaviour (poor communication, absenteeism, lack of engagement).
If the experience of stress leads to anxiety and you are feeling overwhelmed, then try talking to a trained professional, inform your line manager and identify quick coping mechanisms with your human resource manager. Find loved ones to support you, find outlets to vent how you feel and engage in uplifting activities to release serotonin- the happy hormone.
Identify your stressors and categorise them, “What can I control, What can’t I control?” How do I cope, manage my time more effectively and work more efficiently?
After working in a toxic environment, I added after-work yoga, running, hanging out with good friends, talking to colleagues, travelling more frequently. I realised it was the health industry that was marked with high demands. Last June, I decided to work full-time within organisations to manage change, restructuring or retrenchment more effectively.
Here are some of my strategies for coping with stress in the workplace.
Quick tips for coping for the employee:
Physical exercise reduces the build up of cortisol and adrenaline, gives you a sense of pleasure and fulfilment.
Whilst mindfulness helps the mind to slow down, and refocus attention on what you can control, and to get more in touch with the sensations in the body.
Plan your day and reflect on what you have accomplished.
Communicate with logic, concise information and in writing if possible, especially with colleagues who may be engaging in bullying, or any form of discriminatory practices.
Quick tips for coping for the employer:
When managing conflict or change in the organisation, open communication is important, brainstorming together, keeping everyone informed of change through emails and memos.
It is important to huddle for support and solutions to maintain a collaborative environment.
Introduce team-building activities and encourage positive feedback throughout the organisation.
I suggest after-work activities including socials, but lunch and learn, and/or outlets for regular discussion, ideation, with open office areas can assist during work hours.