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Stress Management at Work: Why It's Important and How to Do It?



Stress Management
Stress Management

Workplace stress is a problem faced by many employees and managers today. Stress can negatively affect both our health and performance. So, how can we manage stress at work? In this article, I will try to explain what needs to be done both on an individual and organizational level to manage stress at work.

Stress in the workplace is a phenomenon that occurs as a result of the interaction of individuals with their environment, and its level can vary depending on how the individual controls the situation or the environment. In modern working life, the shrinking of time and resources and, as a result, the expectation of more performance from employees in order to maintain efficiency, naturally stresses employees. Factors that create stress in the workplace include technology, earnings, poor management, gossip, constant change, and the need to increase stress levels¹.

Workplace stress negatively affects employees both physically and psychologically. Stress causes the release of a hormone called cortisol in the body. This hormone helps to energize the body in stressful situations, but in case of prolonged stress it can lead to health problems. A footnote here is that Stress can also be used to increase productivity if managed correctly. Unmanaged Stress can also negatively affect employees' motivation, job satisfaction, cooperation, creativity, self-confidence, decision-making ability, memory and concentration.

There are many ways to manage stress in the workplace, both on an individual and organizational level. Individually, employees can use the following methods to cope with stress:

- Breathing exercises. Breathing in and out helps the body to calm down and get oxygen. Deep and slow breathing is the simplest and most effective way to reduce stress. It doesn't sound funny, but it definitely works.

- Taking a walk during lunch breaks. Taking a walk contributes to both physical and mental relaxation. Natural light during a walk increases the secretion of the happiness hormone called serotonin. Of course, it is not always possible to find this opportunity.

- Listening to music on the way to work. Listening to music helps to improve mood and reduce stress. It is important to choose music that you like and find relaxing.

- Reassessing negative thoughts. I think this is the most important. In stressful situations, one can often get caught up in negative and exaggerated thoughts. Recognizing these thoughts and addressing them realistically helps to manage stress. For example, it is more constructive to say, "I will do my best to do this job" rather than "I can't do this job".

- Solve the problem causing your stress. Stress often arises as a sign of a problem or lack of solution. Therefore, identifying the source of stress and taking steps to address it is the most effective way to reduce stress. For example, if the workload is too much, sharing it with the manager and asking for support, dividing the work with colleagues or setting priorities are some solutions. If the source of stress is the "manager", this can make the situation unmanageable.

Organizationally, managers and employers can also take the following steps to manage stress:

- Communicate openly. Lack or breakdown of communication in the workplace is one of the biggest causes of stress. Managers should communicate regularly with employees, clearly communicate expectations, feedback and appreciation, listen to employees' opinions and suggestions, and focus on solutions to problems.

- Getting feedback from employees. Methods such as surveys, interviews and meetings can be used to find out the level and causes of stress that employees experience at work. In this way, the needs and expectations of employees are determined and the factors that cause stress are tried to be eliminated.

- Building the corporate culture on communication. In order to reduce stress in the workplace, the corporate culture should support communication and cooperation among employees. For this purpose, the vision, mission, values, goals and strategies of the organization should be clearly communicated to employees, employee participation and commitment should be ensured, and a team spirit and an environment of trust should be created.

- Offer flexible working hours. Balancing work and personal life is important for stress management. Therefore, managers can offer flexible working hours, telecommuting, part-time work, etc. to employees. This way, employees can better plan their own time and get away from stressors such as transportation to work, childcare, and health issues. This situation has become widespread in our country as well.

- Rewarding and motivating employees. One of the reasons why employees experience stress at work is that they feel that their work is undervalued or unappreciated. Therefore, managers should measure employees' performance and achievements, give them feedback, provide them with material or non-material rewards, support them with training and development opportunities, and provide them with job satisfaction.

Stress management in the workplace is an important issue for both employees and managers to work in a healthy and productive way. I hope the information I have shared will be useful to you. You can share your experiences, opinions and suggestions about stress management at work in the comments.



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