It is well recognized the impact stress can have on our bodies. Stress contributes to every disease known. When under the stress response our adrenals produce hormones known as “fight or flight” adrenaline, noradrenalin, and cortisone. These hormones increase a person’s heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rate. Excess stress hormones can create metabolic havoc, inflammation and lead to heart disease. Cortisone can create hardening of the arteries, thrombosis leading to heart attack.
These are just some of the physical implications. Stress also impacts our mental or psychological health. Stress decreases our ability to focus, effects our decision making process. Stress cans also impact upon our judgement and mood often leading to depression.
Then there are the psychosocial implications. Ineffective communication, isolation, ineffective team work, negative relations, short temperament, mood disturbances just to name a few. Seriously who wants to be around the moody, narky, stressed manager?
If stress contributes to physical, psychological and psychosocial so negatively, then how will stress be impacting upon the health of your business? How will it impact upon sick leave, productivity, decisions made, teamwork, efficiency, communication, relationships and profitability? It’s going to hurt right?
So here are 2 simple strategies to combat stress in the workplace.
- Predictability and stability:Have a clear,concise vision for the business. When employees are engaged with the vision for their workplace they are working towards a common goal. They are purpose driven and are working to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome. Purpose is why you do what you do. To have direction and purpose inspires meaning, worth and a sense of fulfillment and contentment. Having clear set roles, responsibilities, expectations and boundaries help to manage unnecessary stress.
Stress is generally elicited from the unknown, unpredictable and uncertainty of a situation. By giving your employees clear direction, goals and a vision working within their scope of practice removes the unknown. When we know we are certain and we feel in control, we are not stressed. Seems pretty commonsensical right?
So let me ask you this. Do your employee’s know the vision for your business? Do you set benchmarks and goals to drive them? Are you checking in with your employee’s on a regular basis? It is important to get the balance right. Stretch and grow as opposed to stress and stunt.
- Build community:Connection and a sense of belonging in a community are powerful in eliciting healthy hormones. Connection and engagement socially can increase the release of oxytocins into the blood.Oxytocins are friendly hormones which have an inbuilt mechanism to combat stress through vasodilatation. Causing the blood vessels to open up reducing blood pressure and heart rate and increasing feelings of happiness, belonging, friendship and dare I say love.
Stress is often elicited from isolation, feeling alone, left out, not part of the team, not fitting in or belonging to community. Can I ask what are you doing in your workplace to promote community and connection with your employee’s? Are you engaging your staff so that everyone feels like a team player and are contributing accordingly? Are you checking in with your employee’s regularly? It is important to engage all individuals to be part of the community, to be heard, respected, connected and yes I will say it again loved!
Have you heard of the Roseto Effect? Two physicians came across a small town in Pennsylvania. It was found that the people had next to zero rate of heart disease, significantly less than the rest of the country. The doctors researched the reasons why this was the case. The people worked hard, laborious work in underground slate mines, they ate deep fried American food, and they didn’t exercise much and had a high incidence of smoking. Doesn’t sound too healthy but what the doctors discovered were 2 common themes. See where I am going with this…
- Predictability and stability– Each person in the community had a clearly defined role. They shared a common vision working together as a team in the best interests of the individual as well as the group at large.
- Community-Being connected to other people in a close community was found to be far less overwhelming in dealing with life’s everyday problems. This community’s secure and nurturing environment created an absence of chronic mental stress. Chronic stress being one of the biggest indicators leading to heart disease.
WOW, these two simple strategies are more effective than any antihypertensive medication or invasive intervention against heart disease. How could you implement these two strategies into your workplace? Think of all the potential benefits not only for the health of your employee’s but for the health and longevity of your business.
If this blog resonates with you and you are looking to ascertain what could be done in your workplace to combat stress and improve the health of your employee’s and business. Contact me for an appraisal, I am happy to help.