Blog

Why Workplace Stress is Bad for Business – and How You Can Manage It

By November 30, 2020 No Comments

In any normal year, a variety of factors can contribute to stress in the workplace: long working hours, excessive workload, harassment and/or conflict, and a lack of positive recognition – being just a few of the more common ones. In 2020, our stress levels have been exacerbated by the restrictions and restructuring that COVID-19 has inflicted on our workplaces.

Stress in the workplace can have a negative impact on both people and profit: absenteeism, staff retention, mental health problems, decreased productivity and an unsafe workplace are all problems that can all arise from failing to successfully manage and mitigate workplace stress.

The good news is that there are some relatively simple measures you can put in place to minimise stress in your workplace – for yourself and for your team.

NSPR asked our client, wellness expert Rachel Grunwell for a few pointers.

Start at the top

Rachel acknowledges that although employees can’t be forced to take healthier measures, creating workplace environments that support healthy, happy people is a great place to start. How a company treats its employees, and those employees’ perception of how well they are treated, are key to its success, especially if you look beyond the quarterly figures.

The 2019 Workplace Wellness Report by Southern Cross Health Society in conjunction with Business New Zealand, which surveyed 121,000 workers across all industries, found that the single greatest cause of workplace stress is excessive workload. If you or your employees are regularly working long hours, or if workload is a recurring issue, it’s time to look at how this can be alleviated.

Little Things

Taking a meeting outdoors, providing access to free fruit, or allowing pets to come to work are not always practical, but if these options work for you, why not give them a go?

Mindfulness, meditation and breathing can be used separately or together to help manage stress. Rachel puts learning mindfulness at the top of her list of tools for managing stress because it can help you to process your emotions in a calmer, wiser way and teach you to respond to stress more effectively.

When stress threatens to overwhelm you, try stepping away from your desk, finding a quiet corner and doing some box breathing: breathe in for four counts, hold for four, breathe out for four and hold for four before repeating at least three times. It won’t remove the source of your stress, but it should help to clear your mind, relax your body and restore your focus.

Seek Help

Ensure that everyone has access to someone who can help with issues related to stress (if you work for yourself, this could be a mentor, a friend or your GP). There are also some excellent online resources available, starting with Rachel’s excellent blog about workplace happiness. Health Navigator is another great source of information – it’s designed as a one-stop source of information on health and self-care.

In any normal year, a variety of factors can contribute to stress in the workplace: long working hours, excessive workload, harassment and/or conflict, and a lack of positive recognition – being just a few of the more common ones. In 2020, our stress levels have been exacerbated by the restrictions and restructuring that COVID-19 has inflicted on our workplaces.

Stress in the workplace can have a negative impact on both people and profit: absenteeism, staff retention, mental health problems, decreased productivity and an unsafe workplace are all problems that can all arise from failing to successfully manage and mitigate workplace stress.

The good news is that there are some relatively simple measures you can put in place to minimise stress in your workplace – for yourself and for your team.

NSPR asked our client, wellness guru Rachel Grunwell for a few pointers.

Start at the top

Rachel acknowledges that although employees can’t be forced to take healthier measures, creating workplace environments that support healthy, happy people is a great place to start. How a company treats its employees, and those employees’ perception of how well they are treated, are key to its success, especially if you look beyond the quarterly figures.

The 2019 Workplace Wellness Report by Southern Cross Health Society in conjunction with Business New Zealand, which surveyed 121,000 workers across all industries, found that the single greatest cause of workplace stress is excessive workload. If you or your employees are regularly working long hours, or if workload is a recurring issue, it’s time to look at how this can be alleviated.

Little Things

Taking a meeting outdoors, providing access to free fruit, or allowing pets to come to work are not always practical, but if these options work for you, why not give them a go?

Mindfulness, meditation and breathing can be used separately or together to help manage stress. Rachel puts learning mindfulness at the top of her list of tools for managing stress because it can help you to process your emotions in a calmer, wiser way and teach you to respond to stress more effectively.

When stress threatens to overwhelm you, try stepping away from your desk, finding a quiet corner and doing some box breathing: breathe in for four counts, hold for four, breathe out for four and hold for four before repeating at least three times. It won’t remove the source of your stress, but it should help to clear your mind, relax your body and restore your focus.

Seek Help

Ensure that everyone has access to someone who can help with issues related to stress (if you work for yourself, this could be a mentor, a friend or your GP). There are also some excellent online resources available, starting with Rachel’s excellent blog about workplace happiness. Health Navigator is another great source of information – it’s designed as a one-stop source of information on health and self-care.