Stress Management Tips: Don't Become a Dead Robot

By KIMMEL & ASSOCIATES on APRIL 21, 2015

If you think about it, robots and corporate workaholics have a lot in common. They both undergo heavy amounts of stress. Even if you’re not a true workaholic, but you work hard to get the job done, you still encounter stress. Stress is a natural part of life, but if you fail to manage your stress levels, the effects can be cumulative. High levels of stress combined with poor stress management can lead to severe health problems, and affect your performance, relationships and life quality. As you and your employees work to meet strict deadlines, it is vital to ensure that the quality of work is not compromised in the process. Just remember, robots need to be maintained, lubricated, and energized as well.

Effects Of Stress In The Corporate World

construction robots of the future is ineffective stress management

Studies have shown that stress costs United States employers nearly $200 billion each year through absenteeism, medical insurance, workers’ compensation, and other expenses related to stress, which cause reduced productivity and staff turnover. Nearly 75% of employees quit their jobs due to stress. Stress is a major factor that leads to work-related injuries and disease, absenteeism at work, almost 80% of illnesses, and nearly half of all sick days taken. One of the most common reasons for quitting a job is stress due to being overworked and having a work-life imbalance.

  • More than 40% of Americans say their jobs are extremely stressful.
  • 70% say they don’t have a healthy work-life balance
  • 60% would give up some pay in exchange for more personal or family time

Whether you’re a workaholic or a happy little robot, it is important for your company to provide you and your employees with a stress management program that will keep everyone maintained, lubricated, and energized so you don’t fizzle away, zonk out, or become a useless hunk of metal.

Provide Stress Management Training

Don’t blame me. I’m an interpreter. I’m not supposed to know a power socket from a computer terminal. ~ C-3PO, Star Wars

C-3PO and R2-D2

Image Source: Paul Smith/Featureflash/Shutterstock.com

If C-3PO had received the proper training, R2-D2 would not have gotten fried. The same thing goes for your employees. With the proper training, they will be well equipped to manage their stress levels to avoid getting fried. A good stress management training program should educate employees about the sources and nature of stress, effects it has on their health, and skills on how to reduce and manage the stress. Some of the skills that employees should be taught include relaxation exercises, time management, and how to handle difficult situations effectively. Employee assistance programs can also be offered to counsel employees who are struggling through personal or work problems. Companies that implement stress management programs will quickly see the benefits, and over time also see the cost-effective benefits. They will see healthier and happier employees, more productivity, and ultimately much less turnover.

Organizational Change

My upper spinal support is a poly-alloy, designed to withstand extreme stress. My skull is composed of cortenide and duranium. ~Lt. Commander Data, Star Trek

Star Trek's Data designed to withstand extreme stress

The best stress management technique is to eliminate the cause of stress. If a robot has a faulty wiring system, you’ll replace and upgrade the wiring with a more effective and functional one. Data, from Star Trek, is constantly rewriting and upgrading his programs to change things up in an effort for improvement. Changing a few factors in the work place is an effective approach that can help make the workplace stress free. Consultants can help develop ways to enhance and improve working conditions. This involves identifying some of the aspects leading to stress at work such as conflicting expectations and excess workload. Consultants assist in designing stress management strategies to eliminate or reduce the stressors identified. The major benefit of this approach is that it focuses on the major causes of stress unique to your company. However, as a manager, you need to note that this approach may involve changes in production schedules, routines and organizational structure. This tactic can be combined with stress management training to effectively maximize stress reduction.

Comprehensive Approach to Stress Management

Need more input! ~ Johnny 5, Short Circuit

Robot needs more input

Just like Johnny 5, employees need more input. Providing them with the proper resources will help them manage their stress levels. By utilizing a comprehensive stress management approach, companies can focus on different areas that need to be improved. Jobs should provide stimulation, meaning and opportunities for employees to effectively use their skills as they undertake their daily roles. Some of the strategies that can be implemented include:

  • matching workloads to employee capabilities
  • providing resources to become more efficient
  • giving employees opportunities to take part in actions and decisions that affect their jobs
  • enhancing communication to minimize future employment and career uncertainties
  • making work schedules compatible with responsibilities and demands outside the job
  • providing opportunities for social interactions
  • implementing a zero-tolerance policy for harassment

This comprehensive approach will go a long way to help employees manage their stress so they can live a balanced and fulfilled life. Happy employees will want to stay with your company and won’t even think about needing more input elsewhere.

Offer Rewards of Appreciation

I am satisfied with my care. ~ Baymax, Big Hero 6

Baymax loves to be rewarded

Image Source: Bruno Ismael Silva Alves/Shutterstock.com

Even robots like to be rewarded. In Big Hero 6, Baymax is rewarded when a patient says, “I am satisfied with my care,” to which he happily returns to his idle state. One of the best ways to show employees they are appreciated is to give them rewards. If employees realize their efforts are appreciated by managers, their chances of becoming stressed out are much lower. Encourage team building by creating a reward system as part of your stress management program. For instance, the Human Resource manager can develop certificates that employees can give each other for demonstrating qualities encouraged by the company culture. Whatever culture you decide on should be incorporated into meetings, activities and training sessions. Anecdotes, fun training materials, and humorous activities can make the work environment more enjoyable, which will go a long way in helping employees reduce and manage stress. They might even go so far as to say, “I am satisfied with my care.”

Develop a Wellness Program

This is our moment to shine, to show them what we’re made of. ~ Rodney Copperbottom, Robots

Rodney Copperbottom shows you how to shine

Image Source: Urbanbuzz/Shutterstock.com

You can shine too by showing your employees what you’re made of. By offering them a wellness program as part of a well-rounded stress management program, you will empower employees to develop a healthy lifestyle and a positive attitude toward their job, leading to reduced stress. Wellness programs can include yoga classes, running groups, or a company sports team. Companies can offer to pay for family health costs, inviting families to company events, paying for childcare, or providing free or reduced gym memberships. Incorporating your company’s values and showcasing employees’ strengths will go a long way in reducing stress sick days, and injuries. When employees are healthier, they will enjoy increased job satisfaction and more positive relationships at work, which in turn will have them more apt to want to shine and show you what they’re made of.

As a manager, it is important to utilize some of these stress management strategies to ensure your employees remain productive and happy. Your employees are the greatest assets you have, and they need to be in tip-top shape if a company is to succeed. Don’t treat them like robots on autopilot or they’ll become a useless hunk of metal. Remember that a little maintenance, lubrication, and the proper power supply will keep them energized for years to come.

The Author

Straight from the desk of

Kimmel & Associates

Kimmel & Associates

Marketing & Communcations

Kimmel is an executive search firm located in Asheville, North Carolina. Our professional recruiters are committed to exceeding client expectations. They work with the same dedication, honesty, and attitude of service that has been the Kimmel standard for over 34 years.

Read full bio