Stress Management – Manage stress in the workplace

Learning Objectives – Stress Management

Below are the learning objectives for this stress management course:

  • Understand stress in the workplace both in terms of organizational costs and how to measure absenteeism and turnover
  • Identify organizational influences on stress
  • Identify stress and the individual by detailing individual personality profiles
  • Detail ‘The General Adaptive Syndrome’
  • Manage stress in the workplace

Stress & The Workplace

What is Stress?

An individual’s adaptive response to stimuli that places excessive psychological or physical demands on that individual

Impact On The Workplace

  • Reduced Performance
  • Higher Absenteeism & Turnover
  • Lower Motivation & Satisfaction Amongst Staff
  • Burnout of Staff

Reduced Performance

Stress - Reduced Performance

Absenteeism & Turnover

  • Withdrawal from Work
    • Absenteeism
      • Increases Training Costs
      • Reduces Efficiency and Performance
      • Disrupts Other Staff Morale
      • Health Care Costs
    • Turnover
      • Increases Real Costs

Measuring Absence & Turnover

  • Absence
    • Lost Time
    • Frequency
  • Turnover
    • Separation
    • Stability

Motivation & Job Satisfaction

  • Negative Impact
    • Job Satisfaction Levels
    • Staff Morale
    • Organisational Culture
    • Achievement of Performance Targets


stress burnout

Organizational Influence On Stress

Organizational Factors

  • Working Conditions
  • Work Overload
  • Work Underload
  • Responsibility
  • Job Security
  • Change
  • Personality Profiles
  • Interpersonal Demands
  • Relationships with Colleagues
  • Role Ambiguity
  • Role Conflict

Working Conditions

  • Physical Surroundings
  • Repetitive and Noise Filled Environments
  • Long Hours & Shift Work
  • Impact
    • Job-Related Tension
    • Low Job Satisfaction
    • Depression
    • Intentions to Leave Job
    • Low Motivation to Work

Work Overload

  • Quantitative
    • “Too Much To Do!”
  • Impact
    • Job-Related Tension
    • Low Job Satisfaction
    • Depression
    • Desire to Leave Job
  • Qualitative
    • Job to difficult for the individual
  • Impact
    • Job-Related Tension
    • Low Job Satisfaction
    • Fear of Failure
    • Desire to Leave Job

Work Underload

  • Not Enough to Do
  • Unable to Cope with Sudden Crises
  • Impact
    • Job-Related Tension
    • Low Job Satisfaction
    • Depression


  • Requirement for Good Interpersonal Skills
  • Requirement to Delegate & Take Decisions
  • Accountability
  • Impact
    • Job-Related Tension
    • Low Job Satisfaction
    • Fear of Failure
    • Internalisation of Problems
    • Higher Probability of Coronary Heart Disease

Job Security

  • Fear of
    • Redundancies
    • Job Transfer
    • Obsoleteness
    • Retirement


  • Rapid Technological Changes
  • Requirement for New Skills & Competencies
  • New Levels of Authority

Interpersonal Demands

  • Group Dynamics
  • Leadership Styles
  • Personality Conflicts
  • Impact
    • Job-Related Tension
    • Low Job Satisfaction
    • Depression
    • Intentions to Leave Job

Relationships with Colleagues

  • Politics
  • Non-Participative & Control Environments
  • Inability to Delegate
  • Lack of Support

Personality Profiles

  • Type A
    • Extremely Competitive
    • Devoted to Work
    • Sense of Urgency
  • Type B
    • Less Competitive
    • Less Devoted to Work
    • Low Sense of Urgency

Role Ambiguity

  • Unclear scope and responsibilities for a work role
  • Lack of clarity of objectives of the role
  • Insufficient information on the role
  • Impact
    • Job-Related Tension
    • Low Job Satisfaction
    • Low Motivation & Self-Confidence
    • Depression

Role Conflict

  • Conflicting Job Demands
  • Requirement to Perform Tasks outside Job Specification
  • Impact
    • Job-Related Tension
    • Low Job Satisfaction

Stress & The Individual

stress personality types

  • Perfectionist
    • Idealistic and Conscientious
    • Stress occurs when work doesn’t meet their high expectations
  • Helper
    • Caring and Attentive
    • Stress emerges from their reluctance to say ‘NO’
  • Achiever
    • Self-Confident and Energetic
    • Stress develops from the possibility of failure or threat on their self-image
  • Artist
    • Intuitive and Creative
    • Stress Increases from misunderstandings
  • Observer
    • Analytical and Reflective
    • Stressed when they are required to share their feelings
  • Supporter
    • Loyal and Caring
    • Stressed when doubt develops regarding to a leadership figure
  • Optimist
    • Fun-Loving and Charming
    • Stressed when constrained by a single project
  • Leader
    • Resourceful and Self-Confident
    • Stress emerges when they have to face their own limitations
  • Mediator
    • Calm & Reassuring
    • Stress develops when they have to confront others and meet deadlines

The General Adaptive Syndrome

stress 1

  • Alarm
    • Alarm is raised when the individual is faced by a stressor
    • Lower resistance is quickly followed by counter-shock
    • Panic develops with anxiety on how to cope with the stressor
    • Defence mechanisms develop
  • Resistance
    • Usually this returns the individual to a balanced state and the stress is released
    • If the work pressure is not released then the individual progresses to the next stage – Exhaustion
  • Exhaustion
    • Adaptive mechanisms collapse
  • Release
    • Stressor removed or reaction altered

Physical Symptoms

  • Constant Tiredness
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Breathlessness

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Feeling Unable to Cope
  • Lack of Interest Work or Life
  • Irritability
  • Feeling of Neglect
  • Difficulty in Making Decisions
  • Difficulty in Concentrating
  • Inability to finish one task before beginning the next


  • This is pleasurable stress associated with a positive event
  • To illustrate, an individual trying to decide how to spend an unexpected work bonus

Managing Stress in the Workplace

Role of Management

  • Decentralisation
  • Better Communication Channels
  • Job Enrichment & Enlargement
  • Involvement of Staff in Decision-Making
  • Time Management Training
  • Individual Career Development Paths
  • Rewards

Role of the Individual

  • Physical
    • Ensure a Good Diet
    • Develop a Regular Exercise Plan
  • Psychological
    • Develop internal and external support structures
    • Relaxation Training
    • Plan ahead and be prepared for unexpected events

Support Programs

  • Employee Counselling (Internal & External)
  • Communication/Feedback Forums
  • Listening Skills Training for Managers
  • Management/Staff Stress Reduction Teams
  • Company Event Planning

Personal Coping Strategies

  • Anxiety Management
  • Cognitive Restructuring
  • Appraisal Focused Coping
  • Problem Focused Coping
  • Emotion Focused Coping

Anxiety Management

  • Most Popular of Stress Management
  • Focus on reducing or controlling levels of anxiety
  • Common Forms
    • Relaxation Techniques
    • Mediation

Cognitive Restructuring

  • Based on the premise that an individual’s thoughts attitudes and beliefs determine responses to a stressor entering their environment
  • Strategies challenge these beliefs in an attempt to modify reactions

Appraisal Focused Coping

Dealing with the Causes of their Stress

  • Logical Analysis
    • One Aspect At A Time
  • Cognitive Redefinition or Avoidance
    • Denying the Stress or Avoiding the Problem

Problem Focused Coping

  • Obtain Guidance
    • Support Structures
  • Take Direct Action
    • Eliminate the Source of Stress
  • Develop Alternative Rewards
    • Realistic Goals

Emotion Focused Coping

  • Dealing with the Emotional Consequences of Work Pressure
  • Affective Regulation
    • Avoid attention to their feelings
  • Resigned Acceptance
    • Passively Accept Situation and Expect the Worst
  • Emotional Discharge
    • Letting off Steam


  • Stress is an individuals adaptive response to stimuli that place excessive psychological or physical demands on that individual
  • Work pressure impacts the workplace in the following main ways:
    • Reduced Performance
    • Higher Absenteeism & Turnover
    • Lower Motivation & Satisfaction Amongst Staff
    • Burnout of Staff
  • There are 10 main organizational influences that lead to pressure in the individual
  • Personality profiles greatly influence the magnitude or response to work pressure experienced by an individual

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9 thoughts on “Stress Management – Manage stress in the workplace”

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