How to manage stress at the workplace

Taurai Changwa Business Forum
THESE are no ordinary times we currently live in; more so, for businesses as the economic environment continues to be very challenging.

As business shrinks, more companies are cutting back on expenses by retrenching, which implies a heavy work load for the few staff members that are retained.

Inevitably, this more often than not results in pressure at the workplace. Though companies are shedding more jobs, shareholders and management still expect workers to continue to diligently and efficiently produce the expected results, which is no lean task at all.

Nowadays, it is therefore not surprising to find workers who have so much to do that they don’t even know where to begin.

The pressure weighs on them to the extent that they feel overburdened by other’s expectations or disappointed with the progress they have made in executing a given task.

When one is under pressure, it is easy to feel like this. Any job can be stressful, even if those that are tasked to do it enjoy it. But experts say when work stress becomes chronic, it can be overwhelming and harmful to both physical and emotional health.

Typically, the Zimbabwean work environment can be very stressful for both the employee and the employer.

Well, for the employee, not only do they worry of receiving their salary – and receiving it on time, but they also have to worry about meeting the expectations of their employer under stressful working conditions.

Equally, the employer is always thinking about satisfying customers, paying suppliers and the tax authorities on time, including paying the employees on time.

It is therefore important to identify which situations create the most stress and how you respond to them.

A record of such situations might also prove to be quite helpful. Also record your thoughts, feelings and information about the environment, including the people and circumstances involved in the physical setting and how you reacted.

Those who are in the field of managing stress contend that one who finds himself in a stressful situation has to necessarily find healthy options to deal with it.

Exercise is one such option as it is believed to be a great stress reliever. However, any form of physical activity is beneficial. It is not surprisingly that some workers consider playing such as soccer, tennis, basketball and even going to the gym.

One should also make time for other extra-curricular activities that keeps his mind off work, at least for a bit.

Whether it’s reading a novel, or playing games with acquaintances, these pleasurable indulgencies have been found to relieve stress.

Experts also recommend getting healthy sleep habits, especially at night. In addition, some workers even find succour from not checking emails at home and not answering work-related calls after working hours.

Although people have different preferences when it comes to how much they blend their work and home life, it is believed that creating some clear boundaries between these realms can reduce the potential for work-life conflict and the stress that goes with it.

It needs to be appreciated that workers are not machines; they need time to recover and recharge.

So, there is need to reserve time in the day by switching off from work. While acknowledging that resources might not permit, holidays and travel can be curative.

A human being cannot be perfect and efficient for 24 hours straight. The dangers of stress cannot be overemphasised. It has been observed to be fatal in some cases, especially in developing countries such as Japan.

Developing countries such as Zimbabwe, however, do not have the capacity to actually measure the toll that this scourge is having on the population.

Suffice to say, its impact cannot be discounted. Employers and employees need to take it easy and take each day as it comes.

With a positive mindset, pressured situations can be opportunities to shine, learn and develop.

There is also need to focus on the solution and not the problem. And pressure needs to be tackled head on because it is unlikely to go away by itself. In potentially stressful situations, not only is it important to be organised, but keeping emotions in check is equally as important.

Emotions should not take over when one is under pressure lest this might give way to regrettable business decisions.

Put simply, work-related pressure needs to be managed. Fortune 500 companies – considered to be the world’s top 500 companies by revenue – often use psychology to achieve success.

At the heart of this philosophy is the recognition that human beings are the backbone for the success or failure of the organisation.

Pressure can reduce the performance of an individual and this aspect needs to be managed in every organisation to ensure maximum productivity from the workforce.

Dealing with pressure ultimately boils down to personal perspective and the importance one places on the task at hand relative to their own self-identity and self-worth.

  • Taurai Changwa is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe and an Estate Administrator. He has vast experience on tax, accounting, audit and corporate Governance issues. He is a Director of Umar & Tach Advisory. He writes in his personal capacity and can be contacted at [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]> or or WhatsApp on 0772374784.

 

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