What is workplace stress?
Workplace stress is identified as the harmful physical and emotional response that can happen when there is a conflict between job demands on the employee and the amount of control an employee has over meeting these demands. In general, the combination of high workplace demands and little control can lead to workplace stress.
Can some stress be good for you?
Some stress is normal and can provide us the energy and motivation we need to meet our daily challenges both at home and in the workplace.
You might notice that sometimes being stressed-out motivates you to focus on your work, while at other times you feel extremely overwhelmed and can’t concentrate on anything.
While stress affects everyone in different ways, there are two major types of stress: there is good stress that in short spurts can be beneficial and motivating; and there is prolonged bad stress that causes anxiety and can lead to health problems.
In small doses, stress has many advantages. For instance, stress can help you meet daily challenges and can motivate you to reach your goals. In fact, stress can help you accomplish tasks more efficiently and can even boost memory.
Stress is also a vital warning system, producing the fight-or-flight response. When the brain perceives some kind of stress, the senses suddenly have a laser-like focus so you can avoid dangerously stressful situations like jumping out of the way of a moving vehicle.
Signs of too much workplace stress
Stress may keep us safe, but too much stress can be harmful. Emotional stress that stays around for weeks or months can weaken the immune system and cause high blood pressure, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and too much stress can be harmful to your heart.
It may be tough to tell when you’re experiencing good or bad stress, but there are important ways that your body lets you know that you’re struggling with too much bad stress.
Be aware of the following warning signs of bad stress:
Inability to concentrate or complete tasks
Sick more often with colds
Lowered sex drive
Trouble falling asleep or staying awake
Changes in appetite
More angry or anxious than usual
What are the causes of workplace stress?
Working conditions that lead to stress are numerous and often interrelated. The following work stressors have the most pronounced impact on workers' health.
Fear of job loss
Lack of work control
Hours of work
How can I manage workplace stress?
Stress is an inevitable part of life, but you can improve the way you respond to stress, and avoid or change some of the situations that create negative stress. There are a number of techniques that are widely used for the relief of bad stress such as breathing exercises, physical exercise and meditation.
webCampus Stress in the Workplace course
UFCW Canada also offers a webCampus course, entitled Stress in the Workplace, that builds on our stress awareness programs by exploring how unions can help members effectively manage stress in the workplace. This course is availableto all UFCW Canada members and their family members completely free of charge.