The Impact of Chronic Stress in the Workplace [Case Study]

Life can often become stressful regardless of one’s standing in life because of the challenges that come with living. Stress isn’t all too bad. Stress helps us become more resilient and better know how to handle problems.

However, being too stressed out can pose serious health problems. Moreover, the impact of stress in the workplace can cause disengagement to either leaving the job or getting fired because of declining performance due to stress.

But ss mentioned earlier, stress can sometimes be a good thing. According to MentalHelp, there are two types of stressors. These stressors are:

  1. Eustress
  2. Distress

Eustress is a positive form of stress which can motivate you, make you perform better, gives you energy to focus and is just short term. Distress is different and is the complete opposite of eustress.

Distress is negative stress and can cause anxiety, poor performance, mental and physical problems. Distress can either be short term or long term. Chronic stress is prolonged exposure to stress to the point wherein you believe that you have little to no control over the situation.

According to the American Psychological Association, stress is a major Ametican health issue. Their study,  “Stress in America” showed that the top two sources of stress are:

  1. Work
  2. Money

Chronic stress can affect one’s work performance in a multitude of ways. If not addressed, it can lead to serious health problems. Here are shocking statistics about stress from WebMD:

  • 45% of adults suffer adverse health problems due to stress.
  • 75% – 90% of all visits to doctors are for stress-related complaints and ailments.
  • A study from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration showed that stress is costing America $300 billion per year.

Chronic stress is detrimental to both your personal and professional life. Here are the impact of chronic stress in the workplace:

Reduced Productivity

According to the International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management which has done a thorough research on stress, “increased stress leads to reduced productivity.”

Stress can cause poor performance, low productivity and motivation. This is because even the simplest of tasks becomes difficult to do when you are suffering from chronic stress. 

According to Medical News Today, the impact of chronic stress is detrimental to your mind and body. It can affect your appetite and sleep pattern. Both can be related to productivity and performance.

It’s not so hard to see what lack of sleep and undernutrition can do to your performance at work. According to an article by the Hult International Business School, sleep deprivation means poorer performance and productivity. 

Undernutrition also creates the same result. These are other ways how chronic stress affect productivity:

  • Absenteeism – According to the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals, stress is one of the most common causes of absenteeism. 
  • Staff Turnover – Stress is also linked to turnover intention. A study by the European Journal of Business Management concluded that stress can impact turnover intention.
  • Punctuality – According to Astutis, employees getting bad at punctuality is a sign of stress.
  • Quality of Work – because of poor cognitive performance due to chronic stress, quality of work declines.

Can Ruin Relationships

One of the many ways how employees can reduce their stress is through having positive relationships with their coworkers. According to WebMD, talking about what stresses you out helps to reduce it. 

However, chronic stress can influence your behavior in a negative manner which in turn can ruin relationships. If relationships turn sour in the workplace, it can lead to employees becoming disengaged and forming bad company culture.

If you are suffering from chronic stress, know that jobs should also be about work/life balance. There are major key takeaways for having work as a source of happiness. Know that you will spend a third of your life working.

Wouldn’t it be ideal if the time you spent at work also contributes to your happiness and well-being?

According to Psychology Today, people who are stressed tend to be:

  • Withdrawn
  • Distracted
  • Less affectionate

The same study also showed that stressed people don’t have time for leisure activities. All these negative effects of stress can result in alienation between people. This doesn’t just happen in the working environment but also between partners.

Stress also brings out the worst traits in people. When relationships at work starts to get sour or worse, employee satisfaction and commitment declines. If not addressed, the result can be bad performance or employees leaving their jobs. 

Chronic stress can result to employee conflict. If there’s any employee conflict in your organization, know how to resolve employee conflict before it’s too late. 

Health problems

Perhaps the most destructive effect of stress is its impact on one’s health. Stress can cause different types of health problems. According to Healthline, here are some of the negative effects of stress to one’s body:

  • Increased vulnerability to depression
  • Can trigger and intensify headaches
  • Increases the production of stomach acid which can lead to heartburn
  • Shortness of breathing
  • Weaker immune system
  • Risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack due to high blood pressure caused by stress
  • High blood sugar level
  • High blood pressure
  • Pounding heart
  • Fertility problems
  • Stomachache
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Low sex drive
  • Missed periods
  • Tense muscles

Companies are making a move to address chronic stress. Some companies make use of the impact of happiness at work and implement methods on how to achieve happiness for better employee engagement, well-being and satisfaction. 
Everyone deserves happiness. If you are suffering from chronic stress, you might want to read our article about how to reduce work stress. We wish you happiness, joy and love.