Reducing stress in the workplace is the key to happier employees. Happier employees equal productivity, which equals fewer industrial accidents. Most people view accidents as just that — accidents. But in a study of 164 disability patients, 25 percent who suffered a work-related injury had reduced stress levels after the accident (based on the Holmes-Rahe scale). This happened because the accident had removed them from the stress of their jobs. It was then theorized that the accidents may have been a misguided coping effort to alleviate stress. If this is true, it elevates the importance of reducing work-related stress before accidents occur.

A poll by the Together Organization shows that half of all employees surveyed think workplace stress is a serious problem. The poll also finds that 40 percent of workers believe that their jobs will suffer if their employers hear they are stressed on the job. One in four workers revealed that they are aware of a colleague whose mental wellbeing and career has suffered as a result of stress in the workplace.

Over half of employees feel that their employer does not fully recognize the extent of workplace stress, and does not have adequate procedures in place to manage stress-related problems. A majority said that there was a need for other organizations to work with employers to provide specialist support.

It should be our goal at the end of the day to say, “Good day, fine, got it done, no stress.” But this is very difficult to achieve. Job stress comes in many forms:

• Too much work
• Conflicts with co-workers
• Difficulties with your boss
• Boring work
• Irate customers
• Too many responsibilities

These are just some of the ways we become stressed with our jobs. Identifying where job stress initially develops is the beginning to resolving the stress issue itself. Many stress issues at work may be more personal or triggered from within oneself.

Ask yourself the following questions. How well am I coping with:

Productivity and efficiency on the job?
• My closest coworkers and my company as a whole?
• Communicating necessary information to other professionals?
• Change, in regards to position, schedule, or otherwise?
• Finding meaning and purpose in my work?
• Refueling my energy: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually?

Being satisfied and content on the job calms our inner personal stress.

Common job stressors lead to low productivity. Here are some suggestions for reducing the most common causes of job stress.

1. Avoid commuter issues — If you have a two-hour drive to work each day, chances are you are already stressed when you arrive at the office. Most people feel driving is a waste of time, and in a society where we schedule our activities by the hour, the time wasted getting from point A to point B can make us anxious and frustrated, especially if we are continually fighting heavy traffic.

2. Look into the possibility of working from your home or consider finding a job closer to home. Carpool with co-workers or inquire about changing your working hours to avoid peak traffic hours.

3. Listen to books on tape or CD, or play relaxing music in your car during your commute. Another option is to take public transportation, leaving the stress of traffic to someone else.

4. Talk to your boss — Keeping open lines of communication will give you both a clearer understanding of what is expected of each of you. Discuss:

• Job performance and if you are meeting the expectations of the company.
• Areas you might need to improve on.
• Raises and incentives.
• The future of the company and how you fit in to long-term plans.
• Lightening your work load if you feel you are taking on too much.
• Other job opportunities for you within the company.

5. Turn it off — Cell phones, PDAs, and computers: yuck! What happened to the eight-hour workday? These modern marvels that, when introduced, proclaimed they would make our lives more efficient and give us more free time have done just the opposite and tied us to our jobs twenty-four hours a day. Here are some examples on how to cut the ties.

• Cell phone — the world won’t end: turn it off.
• PDA — the world won’t end: turn it off.
• Computer — the world won’t end: turn it off.

Can this be clearer? We have thirty minutes or maybe an hour for a lunch break. Yet we carry these electronics with us so we don’t miss a thing. But what we are really missing is our only break in the workday. Instead of multitasking with a sandwich in one hand and a keypad in the other, turn it off and enjoy the wonderful taste of a good meal. You may be surprised at how relaxing eating can be.

6. Leave your job at the office by making an effort to clear your mind of everything related to work and go home with a fresh attitude to greet your family. If work weighs heavy on your mind, even after you leave the office and during your drive home, or if traffic was brutal on the way home, try pulling the car over to the curb and take a quiet moment to relax your mind just before you reach your home. It only takes a few moments to calm your thoughts. Then when you do walk in the door, your thoughts can be directed at your family, not your job.

If you can’t resolve your stress issue at work — if you are truly miserable — it may be time to think about changing jobs. Is there a job you would be happier doing?

Don’t quit your job while you are seeking different employment. Keep your existing job until you are sure you have a new one established. There could be more stress being unemployed than there was at the job you abruptly quit.

To learn more ways to live a stress free life, visit

Author's Bio: 

Carol Denbow is business start-up expert and a three-time award winning author. Her third book, Stress Relief for the Working Stiff, How to Reverse the Embalming Effect is considered by experts to be the most comprehensive and useful stress relief book available today. Visit Carol’s website at to meet “Frank” the lovable “stressed out” character who represents all of us working stiffs!