Stressors at Work: How to Identify and Avoid them

Stressors at work don't have to be chronic, and there are ways to identify and avoid them. Find out how in this post!

Work environment
Employee Experience

Marie-Christine Drolet


Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Let’s face it: there is no such thing as an entirely stress-free workplace. Even if someone thinks he/she is immune to stress, that person may become a victim of his/her own endurance.

The main stressors at work that would be taken lightly by managers can lead to burnouts within your personnel. Stress is also a risk factor that can lead to many diseases and have serious and costly consequences for your organization.

Don’t stress, we will explain the main causes of stress in the workplace and how to avoid them in this article!

Tasks-related stressors at work

Every person has a different level of resistance to stress. One may be more likely to crack, or, have a stress-resistant shell.

Even the most enduring people, demanding of others but also of themselves, can crack: there’s that fateful moment for all where it becomes impossible to take more. For that reason, the employer must not only focus on the most vulnerable people, because no one is immune to burnouts.

Tips to reduce task-related stressors at work

Remember to set clear deadlines for your employees to submit their work: everything is not urgent and does not need to be done at the same day. Make sure you consider the level of resistance to stress of those you manage to better predict their reactions and behaviors when faced with more stressful situations.

Fortunately for managers, there are ways to know employees’ level of resistance to pressure to try and adapt to each of them.

Stressors at work related to the type of work to be done

If there is no harmonization between the potential of an individual and the requirements of the position, it will be as difficult as asking someone to swim against the current. Anything that is not natural and that will require additional efforts to ensure that the employee properly executes his/her work will be an additional cause of stress.

Tips to reduce stressors at work related to the type of work to be done

It is imperative that the challenges and projects entrusted to someone fit with his/her natural strengths. Employees who are entrusted with tasks that are related to their natural strengths and innate talents will be happy and will fulfill their potential in their work. The chances of burnouts will therefore be reduced.

There are ways to find out what the strengths of your team members are, in order to assign the right responsibilities to each team member.

Stressors at to work related to an overload of work

One of the most common stressors at work: when the workload becomes too difficult to manage. Is this lack of organization on the part of the individual or is it really because he/she actually has too many tasks to manage?

Tips to reduce stressors at work related to a work overload

If it is a lack of organization on your employees’ behalf, they must make efforts to plan and structure what must be undertaken. Good and timely delegation will avoid mistakes and last minute worries. Assigning the task of planning and structuring the workload of team members to someone who has the manager profile that meets the needs of your organization can be a solution to reduce this source of stress at work.

If the workload really is too demanding, ask your employee to start with the important and urgent tasks. Invite them to ask for help to become better at meeting deadlines: a colleague might have the skills and time to help! Can the workload be toned down?

Stressors at work due to demanding schedules

The need to be efficient for several consecutive hours is another stress factor at work. People may be productive momentarily, but going beyond the physical capabilities becomes exhausting in the long run.

Also, when a child arrives in the life of an employee, or when an employee gets back from maternity leave, wanting to maintain work habits is often very difficult.

Tips to reduce stressors at work related to demanding schedules

Invite the employee to take breaks and try to suggest work conditions that demonstrate greater flexibility (eg: offer an employee to work from home from time to time to reduce travel time).

Offering more flexible schedules to your employees will contribute to their engagement while ensuring their well-being. Above all, stay available and open to dialogue!

Stressors at work related to unrealistic goals

Are the goals you set ambitious or unrealistic? Imposing objectives without understanding the reality is a major stressor at work for people in organizations.

Tips to reduce stressors at work related to unrealistic goals 

Estimate the time and the number of resources required to achieve these goals. If you entrust goals that require too much time to meet deadlines, you will drain your employees.

Be also aware of the budgets needed to fund the resources to achieve the objectives, hence making sure you have the necessary means to accomplish those ambitions.

Have people focus on the process (concrete actions) rather than on the overall objectives.

Stressors at work related to working relationships

In addition to the personalities and individual constraints, being in a community every day can lead to other stressors at work within your organization.

It is important to maintain a good working environment within the company. Working relationships with colleagues, and more specifically with the immediate supervisors, are very significant and have an important impact on job performance.

Too often, organizations minimize the impact that a negative comment can have on an employee.

Tips to reduce stressors at work related to working relationships

To reduce possible tensions, the best advice to follow is to ensure that you have good communication and are transparent with your employees. Encourage the team to express their disagreement with a situation or a decision without waiting for it to escalate.

Highlight successes and take the time to congratulate and encourage and try to put less emphasis on the worst performances. Over time, a lack of positive feedback and encouragement can demotivate your employees, even the most endurant.

Stressors at work related to major changes within the organization

Major changes within companies may be the exact causes of stress for some of your employees. For example, a corporate merger, the voluntary departure of a key employee, the layoff of a valued employee, the arrival of a person you might be threatened by, mass staff cuts, etc.

Tips to reduce stressors at work related to major changes within organizations 

Be sure to pay attention to the difficulties faced by people on your team. The simple fact of better informing your employees may remove a great weight on their shoulders.

Taking the lead to reduce the stressors in your business will make you a winner!

In addition to reducing the costs associated with the health of your employees, you will create a work environment that has no place for stress. Be sure to listen to your employees and offer simple and inexpensive solutions to reduce stress.

The Atman test has an entire section dedicated to the resistance to stress. Find the right advice for your employees and help them identify and reduce stressors at work right now!

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