Managing And Minimizing Workplace Stress

Feeling overwhelmed by workplace stress? You might be surprised to learn that a lot of stress is in response to your own reactions.



Studies show that 80% of workers feel stress on the job. That stress may arise from deadlines, heavy workloads, toxic managers, having little influence at work, or perhaps a lack of knowledge, skills, coping ability, opportunities, or manager/coworker support.

While some things like deadlines and workloads may be inevitable, how you react to those stressors can help relieve or even avoid the stress we feel. A manager’s influence can also help remove unneeded stressors for employees to feel happier and more satisfied at work.

Here are a few tips that can help you feel less stress, as well as ease stressors for your team.

What’s The Difference Between Stress And Stressors?

While it may seem like splitting hairs, there is a big difference between stress and stressorsStress is a physical hormonal response to danger (real or imagined) and stressors are external events that cause that reaction. Here are a few examples:


  • Feeling overwhelmed with your workload
  • Dreading coming to work
  • Panicking when seeing a text or call from your manager
  • Worrying about interacting with a toxic coworker


  • Being challenged to learn a new skill
  • Dealing with rude or difficult customers
  • Experiencing worksite accidents or injury
  • Having deadlines or performance goals

Understanding these differences can help you focus on what’s within your sphere of control so you can influence attitude and behavior shifts. And while you may not be able to avoid a heavy workload (stressor), you can adopt coping methods to deal with feeling overwhelmed (stress).

Steps To Relieve Symptoms Of Stress

Your body produces stress through the fight-or-flight reaction to keep you out of danger. You may recognize common signs such as rapid heart rate, shallow breathing, sweating, shaking, and nervousness. If you continue to feel stress long after the danger (stressor) has passed, it could lead to burnout, high blood pressure, heart disease, weight gain, exhaustion, and other harmful effects.

When you feel stressed, use the following coping techniques for relief.

Breathe Deeply and Relax

When you start to feel overwhelmed, take 1 minute to focus on your breathing and cycle through long inhales and exhales, holding briefly between each transition. Consider spending 10 minutes a day focused on relaxing, deep breathing, or meditating.

Diet and Exercise

Eat healthy food and avoid excessive caffeine, sugar, and alcohol to build your immune system, lower your blood pressure, and prevent unwanted weight gain. Move your body by taking frequent walks or stretch to ease the tension caused by stress. This will also release calming hormones.


Talk to someone you can lean on for support, like a friend or counselor, to help you process and move past the stress you feel. Have lunch with a friend or take a break with a colleague you enjoy to lighten your mood.


Strategies To Reduce Or Remove Unnecessary Stressors

When people at work are stressed, they may be more likely to yell at coworkers, assault or want to hit a coworker, or even cause an accident on the job. They may also miss more work, leading to staffing shortages and coworkers working harder to cover for them.

As a manager, you can help relieve the stress your employees feel. If you spot signs of stress on your team, such as incomplete work or more mistakes than normal, consider implementing the following suggestions.

Adjust Deadlines

If you’re able to ease up on a deadline on an overly stressed employee, and it doesn’t impact another department’s work, do it.

Offer Help

If an employee regularly misses deadlines, ask if they need help with prioritizing tasks. Employees who are new to the workforce may have a more difficult time knowing which tasks are more important, so take the opportunity to develop that skill set.

Avoid Contact After Hours

Unless it’s an emergency, wait until your employee is clocked into work before calling, texting, or emailing them outside of work hours. Even if you don’t expect them to be constantly available, they may feel pressure to respond immediately. Give employees a mental break from work.


Build team camaraderie by celebrating wins, birthdays, work anniversaries, and achievements in the workplace. Employees who feel appreciated and included have more job satisfaction, so don’t miss an opportunity to say thank you.

Show Compassion

Your attitude toward your employees has a significant impact on how your team feels about work. If you stay positive and offer help instead of blaming or criticizing them, you’ll foster a happier and healthier team.

For more tips on minimizing work-related stress, please contact your certified HR expert. Not a current Stratus HR client? Request a free consultation today and our team will contact you shortly. 

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