Dealing with work related stress has now become a legal requirement of all Employers. For so long, Employees have been bearing the brunt of stress and ‘getting on with it’ when actually stress left untreated can be a major cause of low productivity, increasing absence and even in some cases a killer. How can Goal Setting help long term work stress?

What Is Workplace Stress?

The official description from The Health and Safety Executive, reads something like this:

 

“The reaction people have to excessive demands or pressures, arising when people try to cope with tasks, responsibilities or other types of pressure connected with their job, but find difficulty, strain or worry in doing so.

The difficulty Employers have is that staff tend to either:

  • ignore the signs
  • not admit to being stressed
  • not even realise it’s stress they are suffering from

So how do you solve a problem that’s not there? Prevention and management seem to be the way forward. Identifying there could be a problem is the first step, but creating an environment where problems can be acknowledged and brought to the fore is vital for Employers.  Staff need to feel comfortable and supported, especially when coping with overwhelming feelings of stress.

So What Causes Stress?

Stress can be caused by a number of factors:

  • shift work
  • long hours
  • lack of control
  • insecurity (within the workplace as well as within themselves)
  • lack of job satisfaction
  • boredom or isolation
  • exposure to bullying or harassment
  • bad relations with colleagues or management
  • problems with the working environment; noise, overcrowding, temperature and workplace conditions
  • low pay
  • travelling to and from work

commuterOf course there could be many origins of stress that come from outside the workplace, ie- home, relationship, children etc. All stress, has an impact on work life so wherever and whatever the cause, it needs to be managed, or even better- prevented!

Stress Management and Prevention Through Goal Setting

Don’t believe me? Well let’s look at the benefits of Goal Setting.

  1. Motivation- by setting goals and ticking them off, you become confidently motivated in ways you wouldn’t have thought possible. It’s true that a little goes a long way when you’re climbing any kind of ladder.
  2. Sense of Achievement-Whether it’s delivering a presentation, speech or simply completing a project a sense of personal achievement goes a long way to alleviating stress
  3. Overcoming Procrastination-this is perhaps the most common trait in all of us. It’s easy to fool ourselves into thinking that ‘I’ll start tomorrow’ isn’t stressful. Of course when tomorrow never comes, stress levels increase tenfold. By having a goal and dealing with it, procrastination becomes a thing of the past.

Long Term Stress at Work

How many people are suffering from this? A lot more than we realise, so it’s time to do something about it. Stress prevention training is now a Legal requirement for Employers and when carrying out risk assessments, these must include stress. Many Companies are now putting classes in place to prevent and help manage stress at work. These include; Mindfulness, Resilience, Nutrition and Excercise.

Maybe we should take a leaf out of the Japanese Companies, who have compulsory exercise sessions every morning, where the whole Company, CEO’s included, all take part in physical exercise.

In my next post I will look more closely at these classes and just how they help prevent and manage stress in the workplace.

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