Overcoming Workplace Stress

Overcoming Workplace Stress

Workplace Safety

A recent report highlights workplace stress as an area of some concern

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) has released a preliminary report on the dangers of stress at the workplace.

The first stage of MHCC’s report highlights the state of mental health across the country, using data pulled from a 2012 Stats Canada survey that discovered 28.4% of working age Canadians experienced workplace stress. The objective of the full report is to promote discourse on how to improve the mental-well being of the Canadian workforce.

Workplace stress has the potential to create a huge fiscal toll in the country, with the potential to decrease productivity and increase absences. Dr. Merv Gilbert, a psychologist and contributor to the MHCC’s report views workplace stress as a situation which the amount of expected responsibilities and obligations overwhelm a worker’s ability to manage it.

Dr. Gilbert’s states that mental well-being issues such as irritability or anxiety can have a significant impact on productivity, concentration, and problem solving capabilities. These issues not only impact an organization’s bottom-line, but also affect co-worker’s and a company’s overall culture.

While workplace stress can have some positive factors, such as galvanizing workers to work hard to meet tight deadlines, it is harmful when it spawns from criticism or unnecessary pressure from a co-worker. Chaotic workplaces make is difficult to manage stress effectively.

Unproductive workplace stress has significant potential to affect workplace safety. Stress can distract workers from performing their duties to their full capabilities, which can lead to an increase in injuries. Working quickly under pressure creates the potential to overlook safety protocol.

A Two-Way Street Solution

Reducing negative workplace stress requires investment from both the employer and the employee. An employer should help foster an organizational culture that is committed to minimizing unnecessary stress at work. Employers should also look at factors that may contribute to workplace stress at both a role and organizational level – this could come in the form of workload, systems, or management styles. Meanwhile, the employee should be committed to managing their own workload and be resilient to stress stimulants.

Workplace stress is ultimately a fact of life. It is something that every single worker and employer will experience, however with the understanding that we all share it, companies and colleagues can work together to overcome its challenges.