Workplace, stress has become a prevalent challenge, affecting a staggering 47% of employees, according to recent research. It is crucial to acknowledge how stress can significantly impact employee performance and overall workplace productivity. High performers, who consistently go above and beyond in their roles, often face unique pressures that can lead to burnout and decreased job satisfaction if not properly managed. 

Understanding the Impact of Stress  

Stress, if left unaddressed, can have profound effects on high performers in the workplace. While these individuals are known for their exceptional dedication and drive, the relentless pressure to deliver outstanding results can take a toll on their mental and physical health. Some of the key impacts of stress include: 

  • Decreased Productivity and Performance: Excessive stress can lead to a decline in productivity among even the most accomplished employees. The pressure to maintain high standards and meet demanding targets may become overwhelming, causing them to lose focus and make more errors than usual.  
  • Increased Risk of Burnout: High performers are often ambitious individuals who push themselves to their limits. However, this relentless pursuit of excellence, coupled with mounting work-related stress, can increase their vulnerability to burnout. 
  • Negative Impact on Mental Health: The continuous pressure to perform can lead to heightened anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues among high performers. Research has shown that stress-related mental health problems not only affect the individual but can also impact their interactions with colleagues and overall team dynamics. 
  • Impaired Decision-Making and Creativity: Stress can hinder the cognitive abilities of high performers, impairing their decision-making process and stifling their creative thinking.  
  • Increased Absenteeism and Turnover: Unmanaged stress can contribute to higher rates of absenteeism and turnover among high performers.  

Techniques to Thrive Under Pressure 

1. Shift the Perception of Stress 

Shifting the perception of stress in the workplace can significantly reduce its impact and enhance workplace performance. Instead of viewing stress solely as a negative force, reframing it as a natural response to challenges can promote a healthier approach to handling pressure. Here’s how this shift can make a difference: 

  • Stress as a Motivator: Recognising that moderate levels of stress can serve as a motivator can change how employees respond to pressure. By viewing stress as an opportunity for growth and personal development, high performers may embrace challenges with a positive mindset, leading to increased resilience and improved performance. 
  • Building Resilience: Encouraging employees to see stress as an opportunity to build resilience can lead to stronger coping mechanisms. Employees who perceive stress as a chance to learn from adversity are more likely to adapt and bounce back from setbacks.  
  • Fostering Supportive Cultures: When employees feel comfortable discussing stress openly, it enables leaders and managers to identify early signs of burnout and provide necessary resources and support. 
  • Promoting Work-Life Balance: By acknowledging the impact of stress, organisations can encourage work-life balance initiatives. Implementing flexible work arrangements, providing mindfulness programs, and offering support resources can help employees manage stress effectively, leading to better focus and performance during work hours. 

2. Prioritise Physical Wellbeing 

Physical health is closely intertwined with mental health. Encouraging employees to prioritise regular exercise has many positive benefits including reducing stress and anxiety. Workplaces can offer a range of initiatives such as:  

  • On-site group exercise classes  
  • Gym memberships 
  • Team-building activities that involve physical challenges 
  • Regenerative movement sessions such as stretch/ meditation  
  • Physical competitions where effort rather than achievement is incentivised 

Healthy eating habits also play a significant role in stress management. Consider providing nutritious snacks, limiting the availability of unhealthy snacks and promoting balanced diets within the workplace. Educate employees about the importance of hydration and its impact on mental performance and stress reduction. 

3. Positive Sleep Relationships: 

Adequate sleep plays a crucial role in stress management as it allows the body and mind to recover and recharge. Sufficient sleep enhances cognitive function, emotional regulation, and resilience, reducing the negative impact of stress on employees. Encourage employees to establish consistent sleep schedules and avoid overtime or late-night work whenever possible. Create designated rest areas for short breaks or provide meditation sessions to help employees relax and recharge during the workday. Offer workshops or seminars on the importance of sleep and stress management, providing practical tips and resources for employees to improve their sleep habits. 

Better Being’s High Performance Program was created specifically for those who looking to take their performance to the next level. The program focuses on our four pillars of wellbeing – Movement, Mindset, Nutrition and Recovery – and provides practical tools to help navigate stress. To find out more, click here

Ready to implement a wellbeing program with tangible benefits for everyone involved?