Work is overwhelmingly the most common cause of stress for British employees, with 59% experiencing it. The demands of the modern workplace are often fast and furious, and how successfully workers are able to manage their stress levels can have a huge impact on businesses’ productivity, staff retention, profitability and stability.
The effects of stress
It’s true that performance can peak under optimum levels of pressure – see the Yerkes-Dodson human performance curve to the right – however our performance potential vastly declines once it becomes unbalanced under too much pressure:
- Results of the Mental Health Foundation’s 2018 study, (an online poll taken by YouGov), tell us that in the past year, 74% of people have felt so stressed that they have been overwhelmed and unable to cope.
- Perkbox’s 2018 Workplace Stress Survey found that of more than 3,000 British workers surveyed, more than one in 10 say that stress actually caused them to completely down tools and take a sick day from work.
Self-awareness can prevent stress
When people don’t understand what happens to them under stress, the rational brain can be lost at sea in an instant. The switch between positive stretch to floundering in the face of all-consuming panic can happen with no awareness to it at all, leaving individuals feeling not in control of the events that seem to have overtaken them.
Promoting self-awareness and helping people understand their personal style at work, and how that influences their stress-response, gives people the opportunity to see stress coming, to feel more in control of how they respond to situations that might arise, and to become more open to talking about this overwhelm everyone experiences.
Recognising signs through the Insights Discovery colour model
Two of the main benefits of the Insights colour model are its accessibility, (easy to understand, implement and have evidenced) and its memorability. Combined, this provides a great base for actually using the knowledge, in turn enabling us to actively get the best out of ourselves and those we come into contact with.
Whilst other stress-inducing events are out of our control, by recognising what particularly causes stress in each colour energy and what signals will be visible, you can implement fixes to minimise the disruption:
Using your profile
Your Insights Discovery Personal Profile is a mine of valuable information; the more familiar you are with it, the smarter you can be about leveraging yours and others’ behavioural diversity to fill in the gaps and reach enhanced effectiveness, alone or as part of a team.
The ‘Possible Weaknesses’ page in your profile can almost lift up a mirror to reveal a list of internal causes of stress, (ie. “Overly concerned with the opinions of others”, “May take criticism of her work personally”, and so on). Becoming more actively aware of our weaknesses and how they impact us can aid in the creation of a strategy surrounding them.
Our perception of ourselves can often be different to the perceptions others have of us; we are not always aware of the effect our less conscious behaviours, or ‘blind spots’, have on others. Reviewing the ‘Blind Spots’ page is invaluable for discovering elements that might have gone forgotten, validating them through feedback from colleagues and friends, and identifying and pre-empting possible sources or triggers of future stress.
Being open and communicating about mental health and stress in the workplace is vital – it is not going away.
Increasing the self-awareness levels of your people arms them with the ability to keep an eye out for potential stressors. Running self-awareness through a team or even an organisation gives everyone the tools to manage their own and others’ stress-responses more effectively and more collaboratively, with honesty, acceptance, and fewer sick days.
 Perkbox 2018 Workplace Stress Survey (https://pages.perkbox.com/rs/244-RYY-693/images/2018-Workplace-Stress-Survey.pdf)