Our work-life has become the most demanding aspect of our life. Due to the various gadgets that we keep with us, we are constantly accessible, always available, and ready to contribute to work in any way that we can.
Due to this is an increasing number of cases of employee burnouts in most workplaces which not only has an impact on your health but also your work productivity.
Let’s explore work stress, and its impacts on your life in further detail and ways to prevent the risk of burnouts.
If the stress is left unchecked, it can lead to employee burnout, which is also referred to as job burnout. When the employees experience burnout, they are unable to perform well at work and even skip work even if they are working at their dream job.
Burnouts caused due to excessive stress and overpowering workload can create a sense of being in a rut cycle of workload that just keeps on running without any break. Such work-life can prove to the source of hopelessness and despair and even push a few people to suffer from depression if the early signs are left unchecked.
HOW OFTEN DOES EXCESSIVE WORK STRESS LEAD TO EMPLOYEE BURNOUT?
If stress is managed regularly and a person has regular time off to recharge and rest, then employee burnouts in such working places are rare.
But astonishingly, according to a reliable study about 77% of employees have suffered from employee burnout more than once at their current workplace.
If about 3/4 of people are suffering from job burnout in most places, then something must be done before it becomes such an aggravating problem that productivity, as well as the health of these employees, deteriorate beyond help.
Identifying the Signs of Excessive Stress Early On
We all have work pressure and the motivation and drive to put our best in our work so that we get ahead in life. Today almost every child, as well as every adult, has some kind of stress upon them.
In fact, a little stress or pressure is said to be conducive to our personal as well as professional growth.
But there are various signs that can signal that the stress is becoming a problem and needs to be managed effectively.
Some signs of stress are:
- General disinterest in most things
- Loss of appetite
- Binge Eating
- Excessive Daytime sleepiness
- Weight Loss
- Weight Gain
- Body ache
- Brain Fog
These symptoms can be a sign of other conditions as well, but if you find no obvious cause apart from stress then stress may be the reason behind these symptoms. Also, your stress may be making your existing condition worse by aggravating its symptoms.
How to Differentiate Between Good and Bad Stress?
Just like the two sides of a coin, there are two sides to stress too, one good and the other bad.
In the past, when humans lived in caves and had to struggle to keep themselves alive every day, stress was a good thing.
Let’s say that an ancient man sees a large dangerous animal ahead that could kill him immediately. In such situations, our bodies would realize cortisol in the system which gives the famous “flight or fight” mechanism. We are stressed and terrified for our life and we can choose either to avoid fighting or fight. This stress backs them keeps us alive.
Even now stress can come in useful in small doses, let’s say a person is stressed that he would get low marks, it motivates him or her to study more and get good grades. It prevents us from various big and small accidents. The stress that comes in small doses and infrequently is a good type of stress if it motivates you to perform well in school or at work.
But when the stress arrives in excess, it becomes a bad thing for our minds as well as our bodies.
When we are constantly stressed, our bodies produce an excess of cortisol and after a while, it is unable to determine the intensity of the threat ahead of us. Due to this, getting late for work induces as much stress as we may experience from getting mugged or being attacked.
How to Deal with Bad Stress Without Adding to it?
If you have been living a stressful life for many months or even years, then it will not be easy for your body or your mind to put a label on your stress and deal with it accordingly.
It will take some time as well as multiple efforts to train your mind to identify between bigger and smaller threats. You will also have to employ various techniques for preventing good stress to compound into bad and destructive stress.
Be Realistic and Adjust Your Expectations Regarding Your Work-Life Balance
As much as we would like to live a four-hour workweek or hope to have 3 days off every week and a long vacation every 3 months, for most of us, such a lifestyle is not feasible.
Also taking time off work may help in the short term, but if you want some long-term and effective results, then you will have to take a more practical approach to deal with stress.
First of all, you have to admit that there are a few things that you can control and change, such as the food you eat, or the number of hours you sleep. But you cannot control certain things such as the weather or traffic or even your boss’s mood.
The number one way to reduce stress is to train your brain to let go of things that you have no control over. No matter how early you start from home, if you meet a lot of traffic on the way, you will be late. During this time, instead of panicking or stressing up, just reaffirm that the traffic is not under your control so you don’t have to worry about it.
Reprogram your brain to take pressure and stress about the things that you can do something about and let go of the rest.
This will allow your brain to create healthy patterns and eliminate undue stress from your life.
Some Practical Tips to Deal with Stress Successfully:
There are certain things that you can do to reduce, relieve, and eliminate work-life stress, experiment with them, and choose the tips that best work for you.
Eliminate the Physical Cues or Symptoms That Can lead to Stress
There are various things that can cause stress in your life day in day and out, and some proactive action on your part can make you’re work-life much more productive and effective.
1 Get Adequate Rest and Sleep When You are at Home
Many of us have become so accustomed to bringing our work home, and during the current times, a portion of us is working from the safety of our home. Due to this, our homes have become a branch of our offices instead of becoming a sanctuary to rejuvenate your body and recharge your mind.
No matter how good or how effective we are, we need the energy to focus on the tasks at work.
We are able to achieve much more when we are full of energy and vitality.
If you haven’t slept well, you might feel drowsy and sleepy throughout the day, making you ineffective in your job. Sleeping well also revitalizes the brain and increases your concentration power as well as your productivity.
Many people who work in shifts such as rotating shifts, or graveyard shifts, or run businesses that require them to be present for long hours also make use of Modalert for expanding their concentration span and boosting their productivity.
2 Cut Down Distractions That Keep You from Getting Things Done During your Work Day
Many a time we have to take our work home because we are not able to complete our tasks during office hours. This could be due to a variety of reasons, and one of the reasons could be distractions.
How to Cut Down Distractions and Be More Productive at Work?
1 Say No to non-work-related Activities
There are a variety of things that we can distract us, some gossip at work, long coffee breaks, excessive research on things that are not essential for your immediate tasks as well as social media accounts.
This will give you more time to get things done at work so that your effectiveness goes up and your work-stress will go down along with your workload.
2 Prioritise Your Tasks with Attainable Schedules
There are a variety of tasks on your work list and you have to do them, but not all things can be achieved in one day or even one week.
If your workdays are not structured, you will be struggling and stressed within no time.
Have realistic expectations of what you can do in a day and plan your work-list accordingly.
There is no need to burn the candles at both ends and complete tasks, doing so may get the tasks done but the quality of your work, as well as your health, may get worse.
Speak to your team manager or your boss if you think that you have been handed way more work than your current capacity. Let them know that you cannot give your best if you are handed out too many tasks that are to be completed within a short timeline.
3 Have Clean Clutter Free Work Desks or Organised Files on your Computers
Clutter can lead to unnecessary delays in work and a high increase in your stress levels, which you can eliminate or at least reduce if you put some effort into tidying your workspace.
The benefits will be that you will find everything on time, and you are less likely to forget about a file if it is lying on the top of your desk instead of being tucked in at the back of some drawer.
Use Humour & Laughter to Relive Workplace Stress and Tension
Laugher, a positive outlook, and some well-meant humor have the power to defuse the most intense and stressful movements if it is employed well and at the right time.
We are not suggesting that you start laughing out loud when your boss is asking you about an important task. But let’s say you misplaced a file and had to clean your entire desk to find it, instead of crushing your luck, you can say, about time I clean my desk or what a wonderful opportunity to clean my desk.
Putting a positive and humorous spin on generally stressful situations does not come easy to most people, not everyone can be Chandler Bing. But with practice, we may learn to laugh at our mistakes and redo things without complaints.
Build a Support System and Co-operating Team with Your Colleagues
No man can achieve much alone, so if you can try to build a healthy relationship with your co-workers. Talk to them when you can and discuss with them if you are spending more time at work than home, it makes sense to put some effort into getting to know the people you spend so much time with.
When you are on good terms with your co-workers, it becomes easier and more comfortable to be more productive at work. Most people will be willing to help you out when you are in a tight spot or even offer to share your workload.
Now, you don’t have to take them on elaborate lunches or give fancy gifts or such sort of thing. You can start with polite greetings, general discussions, or even a small smile.
Having people to rely on at work will ensure that you can be more productive and avoid unnecessary conflicts that can occur when we feel isolated if we shut ourselves to our own space at work.
Look Out of Your Friends and Co-Workers to Reduce Their Stress
Building a support system ensures that you will be able to rely upon your co-workers in your time of need, similarly, they too can ask you for your help.
If someone asks you for help, try to do your bit in making their workday easier. If you see any of your co-workers’ struggling, then you can offer to assist them in any way you can or bring them a cup of coffee if they are skipping lunch to finish their work.
If you are a team manager, ensure that all your teammates are doing well and are not under excessive work pressure.
Most companies ensure that their employees do not suffer from any negative consequences due to work pressure and offer assistance. You can talk to someone in your human resources department to find more about the options available for reducing workplace stress.
Helping your co-workers will not only make you popular with them but will also build a good rapport and cooperation skills in your team.
Also, there is a wonderful peaceful feeling that comes from helping others that will also have a positive effect on your well-being.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO PREVENT EMPLOYEE BURNOUT OR HELP THOSE WHO ARE FACING A BURNOUT?
The root cause of employee can be traced back to stress at work and we have already discussed the impacts of stress as well as practical steps to reduce or relieve it.
But when it comes to employee burnout, a more specific approach is needed which first requires us to find out the major stress point that has caused the employee burnout.
Among all the employees who suffer from employee burnout, about 30% of them report that it is due to a lack of appreciation, and support from their employers according to this survey conducted about employee burnouts.
If you are an employer or working closely in enhancing the potential of the human resources of your organization or even a team leader, you may want to check if the work environment you offer provides enough support and recognition to the employees.
Assigning perks for work well done, or even verbal appreciation goes a long way to make an employee feel like a valued part of the organization.