Six Steps to Reducing Work Stress

In this post we summarize strategies for helping reduce work stress among employees. Homewood Health’s Pandemic Handbook summarizes six steps to reducing work stress for you and your team.


According to a recent survey by Morneau Shepell, employers are worried about the mental health of their staff.


While reduced social interaction has quickly become our new normal, heightened stress levels are still being experienced by many.


Without regular face-to-face interactions, it can be difficult to get a sense of how team members are really doing.


Homewood Health recently published a Pandemic Handbook that features accessible ways for everyone to help reduce the kind of negative work stress that can reduce overall levels of productivity and performance.


Homewood recommends sharing these six steps to reduce work stress:


Change your thinking: Negative feelings start with negative thoughts. Try re-framing our current situation as an opportunity to overcome. Take a moment to reflect on your successes and milestones that you’ve achieved in dealing with our new normal.


Manage your feelings: Learning to express feelings in an open and controlled way takes practice, but doing so can reduce prolonged stress and help you deal more effectively with challenging situations.


Taking deep breaths or doing short breathing exercises can help your brain switch from a stressed state to being calm and relaxed.


Learn to Relax: Little things like cutting back on caffeine or taking a few minutes out of every day to meditate using deep breaths and repeated mantra can help you become generally more relaxed even when dealing with stressful situations. Some people find that listening to music can help them relax as well.


Stay Connected to Purpose and Meaning of Life: Stress can make it difficult to stay focused on the bigger picture. The “five by five” is a rule of thumb that states that if something isn’t going to matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes worrying about it.


Particularly in newly remote work settings, it can be difficult to grasp others’ expectations of you. Staying in regular communication with your manager and clarifying expectations can reduce stress.


Finally, don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Focus on what you can change and do as well as how you react to problems and challenges.


Manage Work and Personal Time: Planning ahead, making lists, and focusing on priorities can help alleviate the feeling that you are stretched too thin. Identifying what needs to be done today and what would be nice to get done while leaving time for unexpected tasks can be helpful.


Focus on doing one thing at a time. This minimizes errors, increases efficiency, and can reduce stress.


Setting times throughout the day to address email instead of responding to messages every time they pop up can be an excellent strategy to avoid trying to multi-task.


Try to wake up a bit earlier to give yourself time to plan your day, meditate, or get some exercise.


Get Active: Aerobic activity before you start working in the morning or at lunch is shown to reduce stress levels for several hours. Getting active can also help improve quality of sleep, which is another important factor in reducing stress.


Work stress is common and normal. While some stress can be healthy and lead some people to perform better, too much stress can lead to absenteeism or more serious mental health issues.


We’d love to hear from you! How are you helping your team manage their emotional well-being and reduce stress levels?