Is Your Workplace Causing You Stress?

National Geographic’s June 2024 feature story, “How to Cope with Stress at Work - and Avoid Burning Out,” should be a wake-up call for all organisations. The article cites a 2021 US Health and Human Services survey revealing that 84% of Americans believe their employers contribute to at least one of their mental health challenges.

Lower headcounts, virtual meetings, remote work, the constant ping of email and text messages disrupt us at all hours. Our modern workplace is far from relaxing. Studies show that chronic stress reduces cognitive performance by impairing memory and decision-making abilities, and it increases the risk of burnout and mental health issues among professionals (Chandola et al., 2010; Lohmann-Hancock et al., 2018).

During the 2020 pandemic, my wife’s employer, a Swiss blue-chip insurance company, mandated remote work. Her team was reorganised with new personnel and leaders. Her annual bonus was cut due to cost-saving measures, and she was admonished for lacking technical skills her younger colleagues possessed. By the time the lockdown lifted, she was a different person—apathetic, depressed, and distrustful of her employer, health authorities, and media. Worst of all, she lost trust in herself. Diagnosed with chronic burnout, she was told to get help.

My wife’s mental health deteriorated from mounting setbacks, leading to a breaking point. Fortunately, the help she received restored her optimism and self-faith. While the pandemic was unpredictable, workplace stress is the “new normal.” Organisations must choose: provide employees with tools to manage stress effectively or face the consequences of lost productivity, low morale, high turnover - condoning a culture of fear. 

My own story from tolerating everyday stress to freedom from its debilitating effects was different. At my coach’s suggestion, I enrolled in the Positive Intelligence® (PQ) mental fitness program. In just six weeks, I learned to identify the sources of my emotional stress and intercept its negative thoughts before they raised my blood pressure or messed with my peace of mind. My wife noticed the difference, saying, “Joel, you’re laughing a lot more than you used to!”

Motivated by these results, I became a licensed PQ Coach to help others achieve similar outcomes. After successfully guiding small groups through the foundational PQ course, my next goal is to introduce PQ mental fitness practices into organisational cultures. I aim to collaborate with Learning and Development executives, HR leaders, and team managers to establish robust mental fitness training and support.

By implementing evidence-based strategies to enhance mental resilience and performance, we can create workplaces that not only manage stress but empower individuals to thrive. Together, we can cultivate a growth-oriented environment prioritising mental well-being and fostering sustained professional success.

Let’s discuss a pilot mental fitness trial for your company's unique needs, to create greater clarity, resilience, productivity, and better relationships both in and out of the workplace.

Request a “Lunch and Learn” demo of how PQ can make a positive difference for your most valuable resources or book a Quick Hello call in my calendar.