No matter your industry or position, nearly everyone is bound to experience workplace stress at some point. From long hours to pressing deadlines to conflict with coworkers, there are a number of work-related stressors that could be preventing you from bringing your A-game to the office. That’s because stress – especially chronic stress – can be detrimental to both your job performance and your personal wellbeing. Yet whether you own the business or you’re a dedicated employee, there are plenty of things you can do to help reduce stress in your workplace.

What are the impacts of workplace stress?  

When you experience work-related stress – usually from an overwhelming or high-pressure situation – you experience a heightened emotional or physical response. For example, common signs of stress include poor sleep quality, irritable mood, difficulty concentrating, headaches, and more. If stress sticks around long-term, aka chronic stress, then your symptoms could evolve into more serious health concerns such as high blood pressure, insomnia, depression, heart disease, and anxiety among others. While this may seem scary, there are plenty of changes you can make – both big and small – to counteract stress in the office:

Recognize Your Stressors

To start improving your response to workplace stress, you’ll first need to identify what is causing your feelings. One recommended way to do this is to keep a journal for a work week or two and write down any stressful situations you encounter. From here you’ll be able to identify any patterns and begin exploring ways to better respond to them. For instance, if you notice that a certain challenging project has been stressing you out, then try to reframe your mindset around it – a challenge can also be an exciting opportunity for growth and learning!

Set Boundaries

Everyone has their own preference for how much they like to blend home-life and work-life. However, having a healthy work-life balance is necessary to prevent your stress from coming home with you when you leave the office. Some ways to separate your personal and professional lives include:

  • Not checking emails once you’re off the clock
  • Not answering your phone at the dinner table
  • Learning to say no so you don’t overcommit yourself

As managers or businessowners, it’s also important to lead by example. If your employees see you implementing a strong work-life balance, it will encourage them to do the same!

Develop Healthy Habits

Still having a hard time leaving stress at the office door? Then it’s a good idea to develop healthy habits so you can better counteract the negative impacts of stress both in and outside of work. Try getting a good night’s sleep, eating healthy, balanced meals, and drinking plenty of water each day to stay energized. You can also find an exercise routine that works for you – such as yoga, running, swimming, walking, etc. – and practice it for 20 minutes or more a day to help blow off steam. Additionally, consider taking some time each night to prepare for the day ahead, whether by prepping breakfast, laying out your clothes, or putting together a to-do list of tasks, so you aren’t rushing and feeling stressed as soon as you wake up.

Environment Matters

If you’re going to spend 8 hours a day in an office or cubicle, why not ensure that it’s somewhere you feel comfortable and relaxed? To improve your space, consider adding plants, a comfortable office chair, and pictures or other decorations that make you happy! It’s also a good practice to keep your space neat and organized. When moments of stress hit, the last thing you want to do is frantically search through a messy desk. As a business owner or manager, you can also help improve the office environment by choosing an office space with lots of natural light, creating common areas for staff to relax on their breaks, or building quiet spaces where employees can go to focus free from distractions.

Rest and Reset

According to psychologists, the human brain can only focus for up to 90 minutes before needing a break. So, with 8 hours in the typical workday, that’s a lot for your brain to handle! To keep from overworking yourself, explore ways to reset throughout the workday. This could mean taking a short walk in between meetings or even blocking off 10-15 minutes on your calendar where you can turn off all devices and refocus. You can also consider practicing deep breathing exercises, meditation, or mindfulness throughout the day to stay calm, focused, and present. Of course, it’s not a bad idea to give yourself a longer break every once in a while as well. Don’t be afraid to use your vacation days! You might find that when you return to work after some time away, you’ll feel refreshed and better able to deal with potentially stressful situations.

Make Friends  

Another way to reduce stress at work is to build relationships with your coworkers! Whether they’re directly in your department or not, it’s good to make friends with people across the organization. Not only is it enjoyable to have someone to talk to at work, but it also builds trust and comfortability, which can reduce the chances for conflict with those around you. Plus, there’s nothing better to help your mind reset than a quick chat with a friendly face!

Culture is Key

Building a good company culture is the best way to combat stress in the workplace! Change can start from the top-down, and if you’re a business owner you can start by checking-in with your team regularly. By meeting with staff regularly and inviting them to ask questions or make suggestions, you can create a workplace that is open and collaborative. Listening to feedback from your employees will also give you a great opportunity to find projects that can engage them and promote growth. Keep in mind, that not only should you make sure employees are invested in their work, but also give them room to be autonomous and reward their contributions. In addition, being communicative with your team can prevent the stress of misunderstandings or uncertainty around the company’s goals and employees’ roles in achieving them. Overall, making positive changes to company culture can increase retention and employee satisfaction by making them feel seen, heard, and valued by the company.

Get Support

If you find yourself struggling to deal with work-related stress, don’t be afraid to accept help from trusted friends and family. Similarly, you can always approach your supervisor to create a plan for managing your office stressors and finding ways to better handle them. Plus, some workplaces may even have an employee wellness program, allowing you confidential access to mental health resources and connections to therapists who may help you identify and deal with your stressors.


Workplace stress is not uncommon, and it can quickly become overwhelming if you don’t have the practices or resources in place to deal with it. Hopefully, the suggestions we’ve provided today can help jumpstart your journey toward tackling work-related stress! After all, the benefits to reducing workplace stress are wide-ranging from improving workplace morale and productivity to lowering employees’ risk of stress-related health issues. Why not make a change today and put your mental health first, so you can put your best foot forward in your career!