Why is business stress management important?
We have all noticed an underperforming employee.
They stick out of the crowd because stress is written all over their face.
Or their projects.
If 94% of all Americans report feeling stressed in 2019, does it mean they all underperform? Probably, and we are evaluating the quality of work and the meaning of a happy workplace for a stressed population.
There is a difference between healthy and unhealthy workplace stress.
Where is that thin line?
Let’s find out how to make a happier, more positive, stress-free workplace!
Watch Episode 51 from the #AskTheCEO series to learn more about building a happy workplace:
What is Business Stress?
Business stress is a state of emotional or mental pressure caused by external stressors at work or by the person’s internal response to unfavorable work circumstances. Business stress is also called workplace stress.
Business stress is in many aspects similar to a general state of stress that influences the employee’s work-life balance.
But managing stress at work is not only a personal employee responsibility. The organizational role is to develop and apply business stress management techniques to help productivity, performance, motivation, job satisfaction, and job morale thrive.
Top Workplace Stressors Rated by Employees
Organizational science defines business/workplace stress as the harmful response an employee presents when there is a conflict between job demands and the person’s capability, control, authority, and skills to meet these demands.
Employees struggling with stress often list the following everyday stressors at work:
- Working long hours. Learn more about how to stop working long hours.
- Heavy workload. Discover and manage the relationship between workload and stress.
- Job insecurity. Build solutions to crisis situations with virtual teams.
- Role conflict. Specify role clarity vs. role ambiguity.
- Work relationships. Delegate, coach, and mentor with confidence.
In the MBA theory, business stress is considered an adaptive response to challenging circumstances in which individual personality traits, characters, and mindset play a difference. What is stressful for one person may not be for another. This is something to keep in mind when you develop tools and techniques for business stress management: they may need to be personalized.
Business Stress Management: Definition
Business stress management incorporates workplace tools, strategies, or techniques that reduce stress and its negative impact on employee wellbeing. You can implement a variety of emotional, mental, and behavioral stress management strategies. The purpose of managing business stress is to improve daily team functioning by addressing stress factors, especially those that cause the most harmful chronic stress.
Business Stress Management Strategy: Benefits
Employees in organizations where leaders implement healthy stress management strategies to deflate chronic stress and inflate growth-boosting (positive) stress demonstrate higher:
- Job satisfaction. A measure of fulfillment, enjoyment, and contentedness one derives from their job.
- Workplace creativity. Coming up with unique solutions to challenges that result in improved business processes and business efficiency.
- Productivity. A measure of output vs. input or the amount of work an employee can produce over a certain period.
- Absenteeism. Fewer sick days are a result of a solid business stress management strategy.
- Competence. Skills or qualities employees need to have to succeed in their role.
Business stress management has a huge effect on employees. It brings about stress-free daily functioning and a sharper work focus, which ultimately benefits the organization and brings business advantages.
- Start by making relaxation a part of your daily routine. Time for winding down is as important as the time when you are rushing ahead towards your business goals.
- Educate your team about healthy stress management during onboarding and periodically as you meet business goals.
- Make wellbeing a priority and a part of your workplace culture.
Listen to the Virtual Frontier Podcast to learn more:
Business Stress Management Blueprint
Spending many times plugged in means employees need to pay attention to how they behave online and offline. While you don’t have much control or say about the offline time, you can apply stress management tools that help them self-manage and organize a healthy virtual workplace that is free from chronic stress. Use action-based, perception-based, and coping strategies.
1. Action-Based Strategies
- Leadership at work. Be fair. Justice is a perceptional factor defined as employees’ perception of workplace fairness. But there are actions that foster it. The three types of organizational justice — distributive, procedural, and interactional — ask leaders to give fair pay for the job done, create and stick to transparent processes, and demonstrate and cheer for courteous and polite communication and behavior.
- Information sharing and communication. Be transparent and follow through on commitments.
- Job demands. Ensure your team has fair access to resources to respond to job demands.
- Job control. Every employee should be able to have a say in work environment circumstances that directly affect their work.
- Virtual environment. Unlike physical environment stressors, where you need to take care of individual perceptions of certain factors (temperature and noise, for example), in a virtual environment, you can limit stress by creating a clean digital workspace and step-by-step virtual workflows.
- Work-life balance. Set a leadership example: don’t check work emails from bed, create a separate work space at home, start with a personal morning routine, and encourage start and end time to the work schedule.
- Recognition. Don’t forget to celebrate successes once you reach a goal. Marking achievements is a dopamine booster that enhances productivity.
2. Perception-Based Strategies
- Self-confidence and self-esteem. Coach employees to trust their thinking and judgment to make better work decisions. Better decisions result in more effective work relationships and a relaxed work environment with healthy stress.
- Self-efficacy and team efficacy. Self-efficacy refers to the employee’s belief in their capacity to behave in a way that hits performance targets. Team efficacy is the joint team belief in the team’s ability to reach performance targets. Read more about improving team efficacy.
- Anticipatory stress management. Provide tools and techniques to manage anticipatory stress, also known as stress about future events. Building self-confidence, positive visualization, and most importantly, having a course of action for potential outcomes of a future stressful event are effective tools to cope.
- Situational stress management. Situational stressors are unforeseen immediate events that cause an instant emotional reaction. A job loss is one example. A client abruptly ending a contract is another. Adjusting your emotional response is a tool to manage a situation you cannot control.
3. Coping Strategies
- Social support. Take care and interest in your employees’ well-being and create a supportive workplace culture.
Click below to get your free business stress management tool!
Stress Prevention at Work Checklist