Stress in the workplace is inevitable and unavoidable. Surveys and studies have shown that occupational pressures and fears are the leading cause of stress among adults, which has been significantly increasing in the last decades.

 Causes of workplace stress

Stress can either be positive or negative. Positive stress can help to motivate you to strive harder to snag that promotion, or to finish that final lap in a swimming competition. However, if stress causes an individual to have other symptoms that can bring about a negative impact on their job, health or family life, this type of stress should be a serious cause for concern.

Stressed-outThere’s a long list of possible stress triggers in the workplace. Work overload can be one reason. Another may be lack of control. There may also be a possibility of job insecurity when there are looming management options to downsize or terminate staff. Another reason may be a lack of good communication channels between the employee and his/her superiors.

Working long hours, discontentment with company pay and benefits schemes, and unhappiness with the current position may also be vital factors for workplace stress. Other possible reasons include bullying, harassment or discrimination.

Bullying is a big problem

When a person or a group of persons subject and single out an individual to embarrassing, unreasonable or intimidating circumstances that is called bullying. Typically, the bully is a person in authority who is insecure or immature and feels threatened by the victim. The bullying can occur in many forms: exclusion from meetings, shouting or swearing, blaming, humiliating, and subjecting the target to practical jokes.

Bullying in the workplace can may damage the victim’s health or mental well-being, and may also damage the workplace culture. Workplace bullying can result in: absenteeism and low productivity, stress and stress-related disorders, lowered self-esteem and depression, high blood pressure, digestive upsets and more. Also, it could generate complications that could be bad for a business: for example, when the victims decide to quit their job, this could result in lost innovations, low productivity and difficulty of hiring.

It is therefore essential to address workplace stress and the bullying dilemma simultaneously.

Lower the stress by avoiding bullies

The typical knee jerk reaction against a bully would be a fight or flight approach. Both instances are extremes. If you choose to fight it out, then you risk getting deeper into that bully’s plan of action. You can only expect things to worsen. In case you decide to flee from your bully, it would make them feel good because that was their actual plan.

Work-discussion-300x143One way to deal with the situation is to just ignore or avoid the bully as much as possible; don’t give him or her the opportunity to bully you again! Also, don’t obsess about the bullying behaviour by keeping it in the back of your mind. Try to focus more on the work at hand so you can also make the bully feel that they don’t affect you much. If you can’t avoid the bully, always have a co-worker with you in all possible places where you might meet each other.

Moreover, don’t allow yourself to be intimidated or harassed by the bully. If they continue to embarrass you or make you feel bad about yourself, document every instance that takes place. Include all the details of such occurrences and list all people who were present when the incident happened. Walk confidently with your head up so you can exude more self-confidence. Bullies usually target those whom they think are timid and weak.

As a last resort, consult with the company’s HR department or management about your problem. Intervention should be sufficient to stop the bullying behaviour altogether, especially if you are allowed to meet face-to-face to address your grievances once and for all.

Workplace bullying can be an enormous problem for both workers and companies especially if not dealt with appropriately and promptly. You can help to make your workplace less stressful by following these simple rules.

[Photos by wagg66]