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MANAGING WORKPLACE STRESS Dena Mezger, P.E. City of Lee’s Summit, MO.

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Presentation on theme: "MANAGING WORKPLACE STRESS Dena Mezger, P.E. City of Lee’s Summit, MO."— Presentation transcript:

1 MANAGING WORKPLACE STRESS Dena Mezger, P.E. City of Lee’s Summit, MO

2 What Can We Learn What are the signs and symptoms of stress What are the stressors in life and on the job How do we cope What can individuals do to manage stress What can supervisors or managers do

3 What is Stress? A state of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter the normal equilibrium of an organism A stressor is a stimulus that causes stress

4 Boundaries of Stress Some stress is inevitable No stress means you may be dead Excess stress and we may breakdown A proper balance of stress means successful function

5 Physical Response to Stress When you perceive a “threat” or demand nervous system releases stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol that rouse the body for emergency action. heart pounds faster muscles tighten blood pressure rises breath quickens senses become sharper.

6 Fight or Flight Response Physical changes increase strength and stamina, speed reaction time, and enhance focus—to fight or flee from the danger at hand. Stress response protects you and also helps you rise to meet challenges - even small ones like a presentation at work

7 But beyond a certain point … Chronic stress, experiencing stressors over a prolonged period of time, can result in a long-term drain on the body Stress causes wear-and-tear on the body major damage to health, mood, productivity, relationships, and quality of life

8 Signs of Excessive Stress People who cited physical symptoms experienced Fatigue51 % Headache44 % Upset stomach34 % Muscle tension30 % Change in appetite23 % Teeth grinding17 % Change in sex drive15 % Feeling dizzy13 %

9 Long Term Effects Heart problems High blood pressure Susceptible to infections Skin problems – acne, eczema, psoriasis Pain – muscles, migraines, fibromyalgia Diabetes – if predisposed Impaired mental function, memory

10 “Stressors” in our Lives What causes you the most stress in your life? What are some ways used to cope with these stressors?

11 Top Causes of Stress in the U.S. #1 - Job Pressure Problems at work are more strongly associated with health complaints than are any other life stressor-more so than even financial problems or family problems. -St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co.

12 Top Causes (Cont’d) 2 – Money 3 – Health 4 – Relationships 5 - Poor Nutrition 6 - Media Overload 7 - Sleep Deprivation

13 Dealing with Stressful Situations Change the situation Avoid the stressor Alter the stressor OR Change your reaction Adapt to the stressor Accept what you can’t change

14 Change the Situation - Avoid Learn to say no Avoid people who stress you out Take control of your environment Avoid hot-button topics Pare down your to-do list

15 Change the Situation - Alter Express your feelings instead of bottling them up Be willing to compromise Be more assertive Manage your time better

16 Change Your Reaction - Adapt Reframe problems Look at the big picture Adjust your standards Focus on the positive

17 Change Your Reaction - Accept Don’t try to control the uncontrollable Look for the upside Share your feelings Learn to move on

18 Coping with Stress

19 Kick Back Set aside relaxation time Connect with others Do something you enjoy everyday Keep your sense of humor

20 Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle Regular exercise Reduce caffeine and sugar Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and drugs Alcohol actually increases cortisol, the stress hormone Get enough sleep Healthy eating

21 On the Job Prioritize tasks Balance schedules - don’t over-commit Delegate responsibility Resist perfectionism Be willing to compromise Break projects into small steps Meet challenges with humor

22 Realize when you are stressed and take action Take a time out Relaxation techniques Talk it over with someone Examine negative thinking - look for the upside Look for humor in the situation

23 What can a Supervisor do about workplace stressors?

24 Job Conditions That May Lead to Stress Heavy workload, infrequent breaks, long hours Routine tasks that have little inherent meaning, do not utilize workers' skills, and provide little sense of control. Lack of participation by workers in decision- making, poor communication in the organization, lack of family-friendly policies. Poor social environment and lack of support or help from coworkers and supervisors.

25 Job Conditions (Cont’d) Conflicting or uncertain job expectations, too much responsibility, too many "hats to wear.“ Job insecurity and lack of opportunity for growth, advancement, or promotion Rapid changes for which workers are unprepared. Unpleasant or dangerous physical conditions

26 Evaluate Job Conditions Redistribute workload if possible Restructure repetitive tasks Match skills to assignments Improve physical conditions

27 Improve Communication Share information with employees to reduce uncertainty about their jobs and futures Clearly define employees’ roles and responsibilities Make communication friendly and efficient

28 Consult Your Employees Opportunities to participate in decisions that affect jobs Consult about scheduling and work rules Workload suitable to abilities & resources Show individual workers are valued – rewards & incentives, praise good work Opportunities for career development Work climate that gives staff more control over work

29 Cultivate a Friendly Social Climate Opportunities for social interaction among employees Zero-tolerance policy for harassment Management actions consistent with organizational values

30 Relax! A few relaxation techniques to remember Breathing Muscle relaxation

31 What Have We Learned Signs and symptoms Sources of stress Coping Steps supervisors and managers can take to help reduce job stress

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