Stress on the job is not new to the American workforce. However, recent events, like the COVID-19 pandemic and and economic uncertainty have exacerbated workplace stress. Combine these with the many changes we’ve had to adapt to in converting our traditional workplace jobs to work from home (WFH) or a ‘hybrid’ of both, and it’s a recipe for increased stress.
Stress Can Kill
According to Southern Louisiana Medical Associates, chronic stress can lead to sleep and digestive issues, headaches and body aches, depression and irritability, just to name a few potential issues. THere are many activities that have shown to reduce stress.
- Using deep breathing exercises
- Taking a break
- Playing soothing music or environmental sounds;
- Placing a small desk top aquarium or a lava lamp in the work space; and
- Using positive self talk.
Everyone Experiences Stress in a Unique Way
Recognizing and treating stress is a complicated process. Everyone has their own level of stress that they manage on a daily basis. When this level increases, it can lead to distractibility and depression. Here are some psychological and emotional indicators that you are experiencing elevated stress:
- Depression or anxiety.
- Anger, irritability, or restlessness.
- Feeling overwhelmed, unmotivated, or unfocused.
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much.
- Racing thoughts or constant worry.
- Problems with memory or concentration.
How Employers Can Reduce Stress
Here are some steps that companies are taking to help collectively reduce the stress of their workforce:
- Communicate With and Support Employees: By being attentive to and ‘checking in’ with their employees, managers can alleviate the stress and by responding to workplace issues that exacerbate it.
- Keeping Job Expectations Realistic: It’s counterproductive to burden an employee with unrealistic expectations. It’s one of the most often cited sources of stress.
- Increasing natural light: Science has shown that simply being exposed to natural light for a short period of time can prevent depression in adults as well as children and boost one’s spirits and reduce stress
- Allowing Frequent Breaks: Taking a break from work increases focus when employees return to work, thus improving their productivity. Additionally, taking breaks relieves some stress, which helps employees’ mental health and well-being.
Reducing Stress at The Home Office
According to Eurofound and the International Labor Organization, 41% of employees who had a ‘hybrid WFH’ job considered themselves highly stressed, compared to 25% of those who worked only on-site. It’s somewhat surprising that WFH employees actually experience higher levels of stress than their ‘on-site only’ counterparts.
Here are some recommendations that can reduce stress in the home office.
- Organizing the work area, reducing clutter and distractions
- Using a picture of a relaxing place (e.g., beach or hammock)
- Minimize interruptions to the work day
- Take frequent breaks and use available time off to recharge
- Participate in physical fitness activities
By incorporating some of these techniques, WFH employees should be happier and also more productive.
Great Northern Helps Injured Workers Recover
Great Northern Therapy Associates uses telehealth every day as part of our mission to improve the lives of injured workers. We have therapists throughout many states who can meet via remotely (and in person, if preferred), to work with injured workers and develop an individualized plan to help them adjust and successfully return to work.
We have partnered with and provided mental health support to workers at some of the largest companies in the world. But, at our core, we are still “people taking care of people,” one person at a time. Contact us today by filling out a form (below), submitting a referral, or calling us at the number below.