Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.
Effects from Stress
Forbes.com states “Employees suffering from high-stress levels have lower engagement, are less productive and have higher absenteeism levels than those not working under excessive pressure, according to research from professional services firm Towers Watson” (Higginbottom, Karen. "Workplace Stress Leads To Less Productive Employees." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 11 Sept. 2014. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.)
With demands seeming to be on the rise from employers, it’s no wonder why employees are experiencing more stress at work. Many employees think about nothing other than punching the time clock to go home the minute they punch in. This can have negative effects on the company as a whole since an individual's attention is not totally focused on the task(s) at hand. Mistakes, delays and even health issues can be a result of experiencing stress while being on the clock.
Did you know that according to news.harvard.edu “Nearly half (44 percent) of working adults say that their current job affects their overall health, but only 28 percent of those believe that effect is a good one and people with disabilities, in dangerous or low-paying jobs, and those in retail are most likely to say their job has a negative impact on their stress levels (43 percent), eating habits (28 percent), sleeping patterns (27 percent) and weight (22 percent)?” (Jill Radsken, Harvard Staff Writer |, Ekaterina Pesheva HMS Communications |, Colleen Walsh, Harvard Staff Writer |, Stephanie Schorow Harvard Correspondent |, Rose Lincoln, Harvard Staff Photographer |, and Hannah L. Robbins, HSCI Institute Communications |. "The high price of workplace stress." Harvard Gazette. N.p., 12 July 2016. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.)
Forbes.com also reported in their article that absence levels were also influenced by stress with highly stressed employees taking an average of 4.6 sick days per year compared to 2.6 days for employees reporting low-stress levels ((Higginbottom, Karen. "Workplace Stress Leads To Less Productive Employees." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 11 Sept. 2014. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.)
10 Signs of Stress
The list of signs of stress seems endless, so we will spare you the time and only share 10 of them. Everyone experiences and handles stress differently, but at the end of the day, stress is stress. WebMD was a useful tool for us to compile this list. You can find the full list at www.webmd.boots.com/stress-management/physical-stress-symptoms.
- Tense muscles
- Low energy
- Upset stomach
- Easily agitated
- Difficulty relaxing
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Frequent colds and infections
- Chest pain and rapid heart rate
Relax While On the Clock
Most of us work because we need to in order to survive, right? Well, would you also agree that we also need to alleviate stress as much as possible to survive? Based on the list above, stress can deteriorate our health over time and cause issues. There are many techniques that can be helpful when it comes to relaxing at work.
Breathing is a great way to manage stress. Experts recommend taking deep breaths for a few minutes to help lower your current stress level. I mean, you’re already breathing anyway so why not use all of the benefits!
Once you punch out to take your lunch break, try to eat a nutritious meal. Recommended foods to eat according to www.pcrm.org include foods that are high in fiber and rich in carbohydrates to improve serotonin levels. Also, include fruits and veggies for the antioxidants that help boost your immune system that stress can be trying to weaken. They also mention staying away from caffeine, sugar, and high-fat foods.
The last thing that I will mention about how to improve your stress level is getting plenty of sleep. Nbcnews.com reports that a third of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep. Sleep is very important for the body to recover; almost like hitting the restart button! Proper sleep also allows the brain to function properly. This will allow you to keep tasks under control and less stressful.
I think that we can all agree that being more productive at work reaps many benefits. Accomplishing your job with better accuracy while being more focused can help you relieve stress. This can help eliminate feeling overwhelmed and getting behind on your work.
Research shows that happier employers are more productive. “A recent study by economists at the University of Warwick found that happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive.” (Dodson, P. Claire. "Why Happy Employees Are 12% More Productive." Fast Company. Fast Company, 31 July 2015. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.)
Although money is not everything in a job, a report by www.gobankingrates.com states “a research paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America found that adolescents and young adults who report higher life satisfaction earn significantly higher levels of income later in life.” (Huddleston, Cameron. "Why Happy People Earn More Money." GOBankingRates. Toggle navigation, 24 Aug. 2015. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.)
Does this mean that you should demand higher pay from your employer? Probably not, but the point I am trying to make is that by alleviating stress, you can improve your productivity by being a happier employee which in return could lead to you collecting a nice payday. After all, the average American is at work for a third of their day so why not make the best of it!