Effective Strategies for Managing Stress in the Workplace
In today’s uncertain economic times, stress in the workplace is taking its toll on managers and employees from Wall Street to Main Street. Dealing with stress regarding budget cuts, possible layoffs, diversity issues, personality conflicts, and a wide range of other concerns can cause serious implications in the workplace. Identifying potential stressors early on is crucial to the well-being of employees. This review provides strategies that management can utilize in order to obtain balance in the office. Taking steps to avert or ease tension in the workplace is key to the overall success of an organization.
According to Webster’s Dictionary (2005), stress is defined as mental or physical tension (p.638). This definition encompasses a wide range of possibilities. The reality is that stress is a part of everyday life. All of us experience some form of stress on a daily basis. Unhealthy levels of stress can have serious implications in the office if issues are unresolved. Fortunately, there are warning signs: loss of confidence, irritability, decrease in productivity, and an increase in sick/personal days.
Personality differences among employees can lead to a tense and less productive work environment. Differences in race, gender, religious conviction, sexual orientation, and age can cause fear and uneasiness among employees. These feelings are often associated with confusion or powerlessness. Diversity and sensitivity training can assist employees in embracing each other’s unique qualities. “To accept differences, we have to understand differences, and there is no better way to do this than to learn to communicate with people who are different than you” (Lieberman, 2007).
When employees feel overwhelmed, they can lose self-confidence, become irritable or act withdrawn. This behavior directly impacts productivity, and work becomes less rewarding. According to J. Segal, R.
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