How companies can better deal with stress

Everyone has it, nobody wants it: stress. Basically, stress is a normal reaction of our body. But when stress becomes permanent, our health suffers. In addition, stress can burden entire teams. Mavie explains how companies best respond to stress.

Mavie editorial team25/04/2023

Stress in companies

Stress - everyone knows it. And almost everyone has experienced it. A certain amount of stress can even make you more productive and motivating. However, if stress becomes a constant companion, this can lead to health problems and even burnout in the long term. In Gallup's State of the Global Workplace 2022 Report, 44% of workers worldwide said they felt stressed most of the day before the survey.

What is stress?

Stress in itself is neither good nor bad. It is our primal human response to protect us in the event of danger. It is vital and activates us. Feeling stressed is therefore not a personal failure. It is a perfectly natural response to a situation that is perceived as challenging or threatening. However, how we deal with stress is highly individual. Everyone experiences stressful situations differently and everyone reacts differently to them.

What causes stress at work?

Stress arises in a situation that is perceived as challenging or threatening. But what stresses one person leaves the other completely cold. How a situation is perceived does not only depend on the situation itself, but rather on stress factors, so-called stressors.

These are the 6 important factors that can trigger stress in organizations:

  • Requirements - What is the volume of work orders? How are the workflows designed?
  • Control - How much influence do employees have on their work content and time management?
  • Support – What about support and feedback from managers and colleagues?
  • Relationships - Is a positive working atmosphere and good cooperation encouraged?
  • Role - Do employees have a clear understanding of their role, responsibilities and processes?
  • Changes - Are there ongoing changes such as restructuring, acquisitions, etc.?

Main stressors at work

A German stress study from 2021 got to the bottom of the question of what specific stresses working people experience at work. The most mentioned were:

  • Too much work - 32%
  • Deadline pressure, rush – 32%
  • Disruptions – 28%
  • Information overload, e.g. B. through internal instructions or e−mails – 23%
  • Poor workplace conditions such as high noise levels – 19%

When does stress become a problem?

A little stress is good and can help us to cope with daily challenges. Stress becomes a problem when we don't get the necessary recovery periods. If stress is a permanent condition due to too many different loads or a long-lasting requirement, then stress hormones remain in the body for too long and circulation or metabolic processes cannot normalize. This negatively affects our mind, our body and our behaviour.

Constant stress can lead to headaches, back pain, high blood pressure, sleep disorders, tinnitus, irritability, anxiety, lack of concentration, social isolation, increased consumption of addictive substances and many other conditions.

If stress affects entire teams, it can also lead to its own dynamics in the group: everyone is tense, irritated more quickly, and more adamant about mistakes. People no longer support each other, there is no team spirit and information is no longer passed on or not passed on in full. The team's work suffers.

Stress in the organization is reflected in higher costs caused by absenteeism, sick leave, employee turnover, lower productivity, more frequent accidents and higher error rates. This can become visible in a lower added value of the company. Image and employer brand also suffer.

What to do against stress at work?

Responsibility for avoiding work-related stress, as well as avoiding hazards and stress that causes illness, lies with the employer.

In addition, there are many ways to get a grip on the individual perception of stress and stress behavior. When employees learn how to deal with stress, it helps them feel less overwhelmed. Since everyone reacts to stress differently, it is important to develop individual coping strategies to minimize the effects of stress.

As a company, there are a variety of ways to reduce stress in the organization and, above all, to enable your employees to deal competently with stressful situations. This makes a valuable contribution to their mental and physical well-being. Gracia Geisler, psychological counsellor and stress expert at Mavie, explains: “Stress cannot always be avoided. It is important for companies to know how employees can deal with it constructively."

Anti-stress measures

If you want to declare war on stress in organizations, you need to establish a healthy working atmosphere. This can be done at all levels of the company. When it comes to stress reduction, everyone involved - employees, supervisors, human resources, management - can make a contribution.

Here are four specific tips for a healthy working atmosphere in teams so that stress cannot arise in the first place:

  1. ESTABLISH “NO” CULTURE: Saying “no” needs to be learned, because an appreciative “no” is just as constructive as a clear “yes”!
  2. MISTAKES ARE ALLOWED: Everyone makes mistakes. Talking openly about mistakes instead of covering up slips promotes learning, innovation and team success. Dealing with mistakes constructively creates a fearless organization, psychological security and reduces stress at work.
  3. TAKE A BREAK: Breaks make you more efficient, creative and motivated. Depending on requirements, breaks can then be taken alone or ensure team spirit, for example with exercise in the office or a walk around the block.
  4. CHECK PROCESSES: If there is sand in the gears of teams and things don't run "smoothly", friction arises and this often causes stress. If this is the case, it helps to go through processes, interfaces, roles and competencies together. This is best done with external moderation.

Stress-reducing measures in the workplace

Stress-reducing measures in the workplace are not only a useful benefit for employees, they also ensure a strong and resilient company in the long term• increased employee satisfaction:

  • low employee turnover
  • higher performing teams
  • less sick leave & absenteeism
  • increased employer attractiveness
  • improved competitiveness

Get active now

Our Mavie Counsellors will help you with professional and private issues. Get in touch and make an appointment for a personal counselling (assuming your company has a contract with Mavie). Call our hotline on +43 1 585 388 1 or email:
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