As unfortunate as it may sound, stress is an immutable part of our lives and careers. Friction inevitably arises within our attempts to balance work, fun, friends, family, and everything else we have to consider as working adults. This friction often advances into stress, but what might be surprising is that stress manifests in two very distinct ways.
The type of stress that most of us are likely familiar with, toxic stress. Toxic stress can be easily identified by a measurable negative impact, typically a decrease in production and motivation. Conversely, productive stress can inspire a healthy, driven mentality within the workforce, creating an atmosphere where employees are ready and willing to work as a team.
Studies have shown that upwards of 80% of chronic disease can be linked to toxic stress, which can be a very debilitating to both corporate performance, employee wellness, and vice versa. To that end, it is imperative to recognize potential contributors to toxic stress in the workplace. Unclear communication, lack of respect and/or recognition, and micro-management are all workplace factors that can lead to a negatively stressful workplace environment, which in turn can result in an increase in sick days (absenteeism) and employee turnover as well as a decrease in productivity and company competitiveness.
The single best way to combat negative stress is to foster a positive work environment. This may be easier said than done, but with the right frame of mind it is a very simple concept to grasp. A constructive workplace environment is one where employees at all levels can make positive contributions to the company’s goals, all without sacrificing their mental, emotional, and physical well-being in the process. This can be achieved through good, strong leadership, accountability from top to bottom, and recognition for a job done well. Put quite simply, creating a positive workplace environment is as simple as considering the Golden Rule. Think about how your co-workers are impacted by your actions, then consider what it would feel like if your roles were reversed. You will quickly see that a workplace where everyone is happy, recognized, and fulfilled is a nearly unstoppable force.