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Stress management: How to reduce stress in teams

Life at Work
Published on: Dec 15, 2020

Stress is no good for an individual in the organization. Let’s discuss a few ways to handle stress at workplace.

Stress is no good for an individual in the organization. Let’s discuss a few ways to handle stress at workplace.

What is stress?

Endocrinologist Hans Selye, a famous stress researcher, once defined stress as the “response of the body to any demand, whether it is caused by, or results in, pleasant or unpleasant conditions” (Selye, 1976, p.74). Selye’s definition of stress is response-based in that it conceptualises stress chiefly in terms of the body’s physiological reaction to any demand that is placed on it. Neither stimulus-based nor response-based definitions provide an accurate definition of stress. In simple terms, stress is the emotional, mental and physical impact on the body triggered by tension and anxiety. Reason vary in understanding the root cause of stress.

The direct and close connections of stress are visible on one’s body language, small gestures and through external stimulus. Every individual’s behaviour depends on the stress level. Sometimes psychologist adopt CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) to lessen stress.

Causes of stress at the workplace

When quizzed on sources of stress, Indian employees rank unclear or conflicting job expectations (40%), inadequate staffing (lack of support, uneven workload, or performance in group) (38%) and lack of work/life balance (38%) as the top three reasons according to Towers Watson’s Global Benefits Attitudes Survey that polled 22,347 global workers out of which 7,094 workers are in the Asia Pacific (2006 workers are based in India).

The cause of stress at workplace can be categorised into two factors i.e., External and Internal.

Internal factors

Internal factors include thoughts, mindset, and perception of an individual regarding work pressure. These factors affect the functioning of the mind and brain. As stuck in the chain of thoughts create a vicious cycle that requires proper medication to break the loop.

External factors

The three T’s that triggers the stress level among employees are – Trust, Transparency and Timings. Trust act as cement to make the organisation’s wall thicker and stronger.

Lack of transparency diminishes an individual’s growth and productivity. It also elevates conflicts among the team. The third one is irregular timings or working hours that directly hinders individual mental health and increase stress in life.

Controlling stress at the workplace

Stress is not always bad when it comes to performance. Some stress becomes a necessity to push oneself beyond his or her limits and break free from the comfort zone. However, anything beyond a certain threshold is bad for the body as well as for the mind.

Here are some tips that help to reduce stress at workplace:


Surveys can be conducted to check the stress level among teams from time to time. Organizing a survey for employees is a good choice to assess how people feel otherwise also. Surveys should include a list of important questions comprising psychological potential to regulate stress. Low stress boosts productivity whereas high-stress level creates dysfunctional minds and bodies.


This is an important aspect from the viewpoint of employees. Managers can conduct one-on-one conversations or personal meetings in-person or through remote video conferences. This helps in knowing the behaviour of an individual to cope with stress. To reduce stress, the manager must know the reason behind the problem. It is a kind of behaviour therapy to measure the stress level among team members.

Adequate Sleep

Eight hours of sleep is essential for the proper relaxation of mind and brain. Every individual needs ample amount of sound sleep to repair their mind. In case, if they do not take right sleep at right time, it intensifies chances of chronic stress and anxiety disorder.

Change in Management Structure

Several employees reported that they disliked earlier or old management structure that consists of poor relationship or conflicts with their managers. A manager must have listening skills to understand individual problems. A supervisor with a caring approach may encourage employees to feel psychologically safe and secure. Acknowledging employees work or ensuring prompt feedback also do great to minimize stress, depression, or anxiety.

Increasing Staff and Resources

Management should ensure proper work allocation to reduce the work burden on existing employees. Working in a rigid work culture having insufficient resources also causes stress, depression, anxiety, or fear of losing the job. Keen check on the problem areas reduces the inefficiency of the employees in an organization.

Change in Work Culture

The friendly and flexible work environment results in a positive change to reduce stress among people. Moreover, the physical change in the design of an office or slight changes in the infrastructure does great work in reducing stress level and providing a pleasant atmosphere. They feel better to interact and work in a team.

Participation in cultural activities

Active engagement in cultural activities like organizing quiz, yoga, meditation classes or dance class in a week helps to reduce the extra burden of work. Theses leisure activities boost the secretion of dopamine hormone to make feel good about oneself. These small continuous refreshments lead to a sudden boom in productive areas.


The above mentioned small but effective steps help to curb stress at workplace. To maximize benefits in the organization, the managers must get training to reduce stress level from employees lives. Better management retain employees’ enthusiasm to work with zeal and give their best to the organization.

About the Author
Celia, Virtual Assistant

Celia, Virtual Assistant

Celia is an artificial assistant built by Runtime HRMS based on large language model.