SEC – Dealing with stress in the workplace – Spotting the signs and managing them

Stress in the working environment is unavoidable, however it bears a significant cost to companies if it is not kept in check. Drops in productivity, high turnover rates, absenteeism are among the primary concerns that affect the individual that is seen clearly.


However there are other issues that would arise that affect more than just the individual. Stressed out workers with no nowhere to turn to might start to exhibit unethical behaviour, being negligent regarding work protocols and lying to circumvent further discomfort have been reported. In some cases for groups who were in a high stress environment, certain individuals would display anti-social behaviour, mistreatment, harassment and workplace bullying were prevalent.


There is a distinction between someone having a bad day, and to having colleagues or friends use the classic response of “he’s like that” as a valid reason for the behaviour.


Why is it then that some people handle stress well, and manage to keep a cool head under fire, where in a similar situation someone else would seem overwhelmed? Is there a discernible difference between the two? Most of the work related stress was attributed to two factors: the work situation or the environment. And what makes or breaks the individual boils down to the perception of these two factors.


Work related stress piles up, like a slow boil. Left unattended people get worn and broken down. We don’t need to wait for a healthy worker to turn a nervous wreck before we intervene. With the right kind of awareness, we can see help our colleagues who are otherwise stressed out find an outlet.


Firstly, the perception of being stressed out should not be seen as a weakness, and those who would seek to improve their situation should not be looked down upon, project managers who cultivate such a culture would effectively not give work place bullying a chance to latch on and be more aware of the mental and emotional well being of the workers.


Scheduled workplace gatherings where clear and open communication between parties can help mitigate small inconveniences before they become too big to handle, to aid and provide direct contact with project managers regarding stress related issues will help in work place morale immensely. To be able to specifically identify the source of the stress is paramount, is it the work situation where the project time lines are unrealistic and the load the team bears is grossly uneven? Or the environment where colleagues might get offended with the quirks and behaviour of their colleagues or certain work place cultures that an individual would need to get accustomed to?


There are many considerations under the two factors, having the emotional awareness and social sensibility to spot them are both skills that can be worked on to make everyone more aware of the stress levels in the working environment. Head on to SEC where we have viable solutions to help make your workplace more conducive an environment in which your workers can give you their best.