The evidence of stress on the job keeps adding up. In addition to affecting worker performance, workplace stress is closely linked to injury, and a majority of US workers say they are stressed. If this news is not bad enough, new information from the Centers for Disease Control puts construction in third place for the largest number of suicides in a wide range of industries.
A report from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found that 40% of workers described their jobs as very or extremely stressful, and 25% of respondents identified their job as the number one stressor in their job. their life. Meanwhile, the seventh Attitudes in the American Workplace study reported that 80% of workers said they felt stressed at work, with half saying they needed help learning to cope with stress.
As expected, stress is one of the contributing factors to suicide, and the construction industry has the third-highest suicide rate of any industry in the United States. Stress also plays an important role in chronic physical pain as well as injury.
A 2012 study indicated that 40% of people working in construction who were above the age of 50 had chronic back pain. Pain and injury are factors in depression, and when people are living with chronic pain, they are more likely to feel stressed and hurt themselves. So, with all the negative aspects associated with stress, including on-site injuries, what can employers and employees do to reduce work stress?
Role of the employer
Employers can do a lot to minimize the stress that their employees have to endure. Here are some tactics:
Break down tasks so that they are realistic given the time allotted.
Maintain weekly work hours under 50.
Allow people to have control over as many aspects of their work as possible.
Recognize good performance.
Treat people as equals, and with respect.
Make roles and work tasks clear.
Do not over-allocate or charge people down with too much.
Create healthy work environments by reducing noise, dust, toxic substances, clutter and air pollution.
Employees can also do a lot to manage stress themselves. However, stress is highly personalized. Some people thrive in a high-pressure environment, provided they feel in control. These people might actually feel more stress in less demanding jobs. Then there are those who are in the opposite situation, preferring predictable and orderly environments rather than those that are difficult and move fast.
A key aspect of limiting work stress is the amount of control or sense of control, and decision-making that a person has about the situations they encounter at work. When workers feel that there are high demands but that they have little control, they are at higher risk of stress, injury and health problems.
Here are 6 tactics that individuals can use to reduce their stress level at work.
1. Establish a trusted network
Just as in your personal life, it is beneficial to have a social support system at work. Try to find colleagues and allies to whom you can talk about work-related issues that cause you stress. Sometimes hearing other points of view and gaining new understandings can help reduce or prevent stress.
2. Take a break
Many people face burnout after being on the job for many years, or as in construction, after many months on a particular project. But, it is also possible to have burnout on a given day or week. These incidents often come from high-stress situations.
Anyone who has worked even a short time in construction knows that trying to keep to the schedule and trying to stay within the budget limits are two stresses of the generalized industry. When you begin to feel that you are in a bind, and as if you need an escape, take a break, go on foot, or do something to get a change of environment and a change of perspective.
3. Be realistic
Do not try to do more than you can reasonably handle. Set realistic expectations for yourself, and try not to overload the time you have. If you find that the workload that people expect from you is unrealistic, you owe it to yourself, and they point it out. Help them understand that your overload may be beneficial for a short time, but that in the long run, there may be a price to pay.
4. Adjust your expectations of perfection
Achieving perfection is a constant challenge for many people. If you find that you are one of these, then realize that you can set the bar too high, and cause stress when you can not meet your own expectations. On most construction projects, there are quality standards that must be met. Learn to accept these levels of quality as your expectation of perfection.
5. Be organized
Keep your work area free of clutter and organize it so you can work efficiently. A little time spent organizing and cleaning can reduce the stress that comes from unpredictability. You'll also reduce stress by eliminating the possibility of misplaced items you need for work, and the stress of declining schedules because you've spent time searching for the things you need for your job. A clean and neat work area is also safer.
6. Stay positive
Stay alert to negative thoughts and negative people, and avoid them. By regularly checking your thoughts, you will detect when negativity is rampant in. Take a moment to focus on something positive. Look for things that are going well, and look at people doing things right.