Understanding Stress & Its Impact On Your Team | Mental Rockstar

Managing Workplace Stress: Understanding its Impact On Your Team

YuJin Wong | Keynote speaker

The modern workplace is a breeding ground for stress, posing a significant challenge to the well-being and productivity of individuals and teams. Even if you love what you do, work still has stressful elements. However, if stress becomes chronic, it can be overwhelming and may harm not only your health but also the productivity of your team. 

But imagine a workplace where stress becomes a catalyst for growth rather than a hindrance to success. Doesn’t that sound incredible? Unfortunately, long-term stress is commonplace; APA’s annual Stress in America survey has consistently found that most Americans cite work as a significant source of stress. 

While workplace stress is undoubtedly prevalent, there are ways to adopt a more practical and constructive approach in managing it. 

We will delve into the multifaceted nature of workplace stress and its impact on your team. Let’s explore practical and scientifically proven techniques useful for helping manage stress, promoting well-being, and optimizing performance! 

The Impact of Stress: Navigating the Positive and Negative

What is Stress?

According to the World Health Organization, stress is a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation. It is also a natural and human reaction that allows us to address challenges and threats. 

Is Stress Good or Bad?

Stress is a complex phenomenon that can manifest in both positive and negative ways, depending on its duration and intensity. When experienced in the short-term, stress can actually serve as a catalyst for productivity and a source of renewed energy. 

Drawing from my own personal experience in the finance industry, I’ve witnessed how stress can propel us to accomplish tasks and ignite our motivation. While it may seem counterintuitive, stress, in moderation, can have its benefits. It’s all about finding the right balance and adopting healthy coping mechanisms to harness its positive effects.

However, chronic stress, which refers to ongoing and persistent stress that lasts for an extended period, can have significant detrimental effects on your overall well-being. It goes beyond the normal temporary stress response and becomes a constant burden that can weigh you down physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Looking for signs of stress

Chronic stress can impair judgement, hinder decision-making abilities, and disrupt key aspects of your life, including relationships and overall job performance. That’s why recognising the signs of stress is essential in order to address its impact. 

Some common indicators include moodiness, anxiety, headaches, low energy, and difficulty concentrating. 

Physical manifestations such as nervousness, shaking, and cold or sweaty hands and feet can also be red flags. 

Common Sources of Stress

There are many possible sources of stress. However, certain elements go hand-in-hand with work-related stress.

These include:

  • Work
  • Low salaries
  • Heavy workloads
  • Conflicting work expectations
  • Lack of social support
  • Few opportunities for growth or advancement
  • Personal struggles
  • Emergencies 

Effects of Stress

The effects of stress vary. The effects of stress range from light and mild stress to something more chronic in nature. In Singapore, stress has always been a relevant concern. According to Mercer’s 2022 Global Talent Trends Study, one in five Singaporeans state that they feel de-energized at work.

It is also important to note that by compounding the problem, people who experience excessive stress will often deal with it in unhealthy ways, such as overeating, eating unhealthy foods, smoking cigarettes, or abusing drugs and alcohol.

Short-Term Stress Effects:

  • Headaches
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Upset stomach

Long-Term Stress Effects:

  • A weaker immune system
  • Back pain
  • Depression

Chronic Stress Effects:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease

Effects of Uncontrolled Stress:

  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease 

How Can I Deal With Stress Effectively In the Workplace? 

Dealing Effectively with Stress

Stress is a highly personal experience, and managing it effectively is crucial to prevent it from taking a toll on your team’s well-being. By adopting healthy strategies, you can minimise the negative effects of stress and create a more harmonious work environment for yourself and your team.

Ways that you can effectively help reduce stress and its effects on your team are the following: 

Identify your stressors 

First, you have to identify your stressors. Your stressors are personal. They are also affected your personality, past experiences, and other unique characteristics. How you respond to stress can also be influenced by them. You might also be sensitive to certain elements and stressors that others do not. 

Identifying your stressors is a crucial first step because you are acknowledging that these things trigger your stress. You can start by recording the events and people that caused you to develop negative responses to certain elements. 

You can also list them down. Feel free to answer the following questions about these stressors: 

  • Where were you? 
  • Who was involved? 
  • What was your reaction? 
  • How did you feel? 

After you’ve listed and paid more attention to your stress inventory, you might find some causes obvious and some subtle. 

Being more aware of our stressors is also an exercise in self-awareness; it can also help us make better decisions when confronted with stressful situations. 

Communicate with colleagues

Some of us may now work in offices now that we are in the post-Covid era. On the other hand, some of us may continue to work from the safety of our desks. Regardless of where your office environment is, it takes plenty of great communication and coordination with you to help reduce your collective team’s stress. 

You can plan with your team about deadlines and expectations and stay organised. Some great ways to stay on track and organised with your team include coordinating with Google Calendar and utilising your communication channels. In addition, being more organised with your team’s time will reduce the work your team has to do. It will also mean less rushing to sign in and out by the day’s start and end. 

Another way to lessen your team’s stress is to avoid conflict with them. More often than not, interpersonal conflict with your teammates can also become a source of stress and affects your mental and physical health. Unfortunately, it can also be hard to escape, so it’s also a great idea to avoid conflict at work as much as possible. 

Develop healthy responses

There should be training programs for employees on handling workplace stress. However, the truth is that how we respond to stress can be personal. 

Whenever we encounter stress, some of us might attempt to fight stress with fast food or alcohol, but I highly advise against it. I did it once, and it only resulted in me gaining weight and risking my health.

Instead of turning to unhealthy habits such as fast food, I highly encourage you to make healthy choices whenever you experience stress. Physical activities like exercise, yoga, and hobbies are healthy and great alternatives to gorging on junk food. Turn to things that give you genuine joy and make you feel good. 

By making healthier choices, you build the foundation for effective stress management. Some great ways to make healthier choices include setting time for meditation, exercising, getting more sleep, and limiting caffeine intake. 

Chunking over multitasking

When you have many tasks throughout the day, you may want to consider “chunking.” 

“Chunking” is a strategy for proper time management and a lifesaver tip that can prevent you from multitasking. It derives its name from setting “chunks” of time to focus on one task at a time without interruptions. 

With chunking, you also group similar tasks. For example, the task is emails – you can check all your emails simultaneously. As a result, you eliminate the extra time needed to shuttle from one activity to another quickly and ultimately save time as long stretches of the day are spent with greater focus and efficiency.

Establish boundaries

Due to remote working, it can be easy to feel pressure and make yourself available 24/7. However, I recommend that you set boundaries for yourself. It’s better to set boundaries because it can reduce the potential for work-life conflict and the stress that goes with it. It can also save you the headache of letting your work life blend into your personal life. 

It is still crucial, however, that you set clear boundaries between yourself and work. Some of these boundaries include not checking email from home in the evening or not answering the phone during dinner. 

Set realistic goals

Lastly, it is always important to set realistic goals at work. Goals can also be a stressor because they put pressure on you and make you feel terrible for not achieving them – especially if the goals are unrealistic and if you do not have an achievable plan. 

However, having goals that are realistic and feasible make all the difference because they allow you to work at a set and steady pace without too much pressure. As a result, you can reduce your stress at work. 

Become more productive with YuJin’s signature workshop – The Mental Rockstar Program!

Managing workplace stress is both collective and personal. It can affect a team’s productivity. In addition, it can also impact the health of every team member you have. If managed, it can lead to significant health problems. However, teamwork makes the dream work. You and your team can become more productive by utilising these stress management tips! 

The Mental Rockstar Program is for organisations aiming to excel in their respective industries. YuJin, an award-winning mental toughness expert, former lawyer, and investment banker, uses his deep corporate world knowledge to design an award-winning program. So contact Mental Rockstar today to unleash your peak performance in your workplace!