A focus on stress management and workplace wellness can lead to better physical and mental health for employees, but it can also impact on their performance.  By examining the levels of pressure on employees, it is possible to make changes so that they are at their maximum performance.

Graph displaying how pressure affects performance

Too little pressure, and a person is bored and has no drive, too much pressure can lead to a crash both physically and mentally, even leading to burnout.


Within this range there is minimal pressure.  Often no targets, deadlines, or a chance to learn.  This can lead to feeling unvalued, and drifting, seeming unenthusiastic and low performing.


Increasing pressure to a level where there is no boredom, but that there is still a feeling of comfort.  It can be ideal for many people, but comfortable can be unstimulating, and lead to a lack of enthusiasm. This provides acceptable performance levels, but is still not ideal.


It is within this level that optimum performance can be reached.  There is enough of a challenge to stimulate, and ignite the feeling of drive, but at the same time, it can be dropped back down to the level of comfort when it begins to get too much.


Strain occurs when people are stretched too far.  Increasing tasks and challenges can begin to become overwhelming, high pressure, and too stressful.  In turn, this leads to fatigue, anxiety, feeling a loss of control, poor judgement, and lower accuracy – all contributing to a drop in performance.


When pressure becomes extreme, the state of crisis can occur.  This can lead to exhaustion, burnout, physical symptoms, and mental health problems. Performance begins to crash as employee sickness, an inability to focus, and presenteeism take effect.


So, what can be done to ensure that employees remain in the “Optimum” area, and remain stretched instead of stressed?

Begin by watching your staff and talking to them.  

Look at the signs of stretch, and those of stress, and see where they (and you) fall.

Once stress levels are identified, it is then possible to work towards reducing them with these 9 tips.

1) Prioritise

Make a list of the day’s jobs and put them in order of priority, or the ones which will make the most impact.  Then remind yourself that it is not about completing all the jobs, just what you reasonably can, and accept that the list may not be completed every day.

2) Look for positives

Change your thinking patterns by looking for the positives. We remember the bad things, but what about the good?  Martin Seligman recommends the WWW technique – “What Went Well?”  At the end of the day, think of three things that went well. Writing them down will help make them feel more “real”.

3) Take some control

Talk to people at work about how to adjust things to help with problems.  Look for ways that you can change the situation, and work on them. Removing the feeling of helplessness can remove a lot of the stress and pressure.

4) Accept what you can’t change

Reinhold Niebuhr said it best:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.

It is not always possible to change something, instead, accept that, and focus on those things which you can change.

5) Set goals

Setting yourself a challenge, be it at work or something personal, gives you something to focus on and will help to increase your confidence, and in turn, help you become better able to handle stress.

6) Socialise

Friends and family can be vital in reducing stress.  It is tempting to just hide away from the world, but relaxing and laughing with friends will help far more.

7) Be active

Exercise can help make emotions and stress more manageable.  Just going for a walk when things are building up can help to reset the stress levels and start again.

8) Plan relaxation

You have your task list to keep you on top of things at work, you need the same attitude to relaxation.  Plan it in, and make sure that it happens rather than just assuming you can slot it in somewhere along the way.

9) Avoid temporary stress relievers

Caffeine, smoking, alcohol – all can help to provide temporary stress relief, but they do not fix the problem.  Think of it like putting all the mess in the cupboard – the room looks tidy, but all that stuff is just waiting, ready to come tumbling out the second the doors are opened.

10) Take control of your diet

Our food intake has a large influence over many disparate elements of the body such as the gut, the brain and it can even affect the way we feel through our hormones. Find out how what you eat effects the rest of the body.

11) Get enough sleep

Not getting sufficient and good quality sleep can weaken your immune system, reducing your body’s ability to protect you against infections and ailments. It can also affect your abilities to think, process and concentrate at work.

DocHQ can help you and your employees with stress management.  We can provide counselling, access to medical professionals, and offer your company access to the mental health assessments to help evolve your wellness programme.

For more information on how sickness impacts your bottom line, click here.

DocHQ Ltd is a Health Tech company improving choices. We help you connect efficiently to health support and advice whether you are at home, work or travelling. See our website for our services or call us on 0330 088 0645.