Too Much or Too Little Work Causes Stress?

We often think that stress is related to having too much work to do.  I recently read that having too little to do at work also can trigger stress.  I know for myself when I am overloaded with job tasks that I can feel my blood pressure rise a bit and can become irritable by petty things. On days like this by the end of the day I am exhausted.

When employees do not have enough to do at work they can experience the same stress effects because they are concerned that there is not enough work to keep them employed or maybe they will be perceived as lazy and not pulling their weight.  They feel like they need to create things to do to look productive and if asked what they are doing may not have a good answer.

WebMD reported these facts about work related stress:

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace. Stress costs the American industry more than $300 billion annually.
  • 43% of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
  • The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50%, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions.
  • 75% to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
  • Stress can play a part in problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety.

Stress is a serious health issue.  As a manager and business owner I have noticed when our business is slower, staff seem to “flounder” for things to do.  Something that helps is at the beginning of each month to have staff members write down incentive goals with tasks that they can do when they have extra time.  By doing this they do not have to “stress” to find things to keep them busy.

Also when we are overly busy I make sure that the staff does not stress about undone tasks, I reassure them there will always be another day and we will catch up over time.  This gives them relief and they know I understand the situation and they do not have to stress over it.

Life is just too short to make it shorter.


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