Stress is thought to cost UK businesses a combined £6.5 billion annually. In developed economies the world over stress is a major problem generating sick days and absences, staff turnover, and reduced performance across the board.
It can affect all levels of a business, businesses of all sizes, and staff members no matter their age or position. Finding innovative solutions to the impact of stress is something for businesses to consider, but as an individual, it also starts with you.
Modern Causes of Stress in the Workplace
The causes of stress vary depending on age and the hyper-local situation of a particular company, branch, city, office, or team. The most common causes can be listed as:
- Remuneration vs effort
- Poor company performance
- Team dynamics including bullying in the workplace
- Role and a lack of training
- A lack of support
- Organisational changes
How Stress Affects You Physically
Stress primarily affects the mind (see below) and the body. It exacerbates existing issues, but also causes many others. The most likely physical changes include:
- Digestive problems
- Skin problems like rashes and spots
- Hair loss – greying hair or hair going white
- High blood pressure (which can lead to heart attacks)
- Asthma – pressure on the chest
- Sleeping issues
As we age, our bodies are more prone to physical ailments and illnesses, which our younger selves could stave off. This means stress can have a greater impact on those who are unfit and who are older. Any employee with an existing condition needs to speak to their doctor to get advice on how to improve symptoms.
How Stress Affects Your Performance
Both the stressful situation and declining health can lead to psychological problems too and these often affect work performance in turn. First of all, stress can cause depression, anxiety, lethargy, disinterest, and other mental health issues.
This converts into poor attendance at work, reduced engagement and effort, reduced accuracy, and poorer interpersonal skills with colleagues and clients/customers alike.
Stress needs to be overcome from 2 points. The first point is purely personal – improve your mental and physical health and then you can do the second one, fix the problem. Work with HR departments if there is a business cause of the problem. It may prove that you or someone else needs to change jobs, but this can be a freeing experience.
However, while working with your employer or company to fix the situation, take into consideration activities like increased exercise, a better diet, reduced alcohol, sugar, and junk foods, and meditation for improving how you feel as a person. Create a clear mind to better tackle problems in your work life before work-based stress affects your home life too.
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