Stress is, unfortunately, part of the modern human condition and we're openly talking about these problems more than ever before. According to Gallup’s 2019 data on emotional states, Americans are some of the most stressed-out people in the world - 55% of the American population experience stress during the day, 20% higher than the world average of 35%.
Feeling stressed due to work can cause serious mental health problems to employees and a financial burden to employers as productivity drops and costs increase.
Particularly if you have ever worked in a warehouse, you know this type of job has its perks but it can also be very demanding. Some of the main problems reported by warehouse workers are:
- Exhaustion - Warehouse work can be repetitive. And while it's great to be active, the job can be physically challenging. You're required to be on your feet all day, lifting weight and often dealing with a variety of machinery.
- Pain - Because of their labor intensive roles, warehouse workers have to pay extra attention so their regular exhaustion doesn't become a bigger issue. Following the health and safety procedures at your workplace will help ensure as far as possible your health, safety and welfare while you are at work. If you're not clear on what these procedures are, speak to your line manager. Remember to never perform your work without knowing the proper and safer way to do it.
- Lack of training - Warehouses are fast paced environments and new starters are often trained for a couple of days and then are expected to learn on the job the rest of the time. This obviously leads to stressful situations and frustration. Did you know that up to 40% of employees don’t have a clear sense of what their responsibilities are at work? Here at Shiftfillers, we ensure all our team members are trained to perform their work, we also give them the opportunity to share their feedback when finishing a shift, so our team members can always count on us - but we know this is sadly not the standard experience at warehouses.
- Toxic work environment - Having a strong work culture is more important than most people think. You may spend nearly as much time with co-workers as your friends and family (if not more). This means that having a healthy relationship with colleagues is key.
- Difficult hours - Because this type of environment is so busy and the demand across the country continues to increase, warehouse associates have to often work challenging shifts, with little flexibility, which can also be nerve-racking. About 30% of workers with irregular schedules report having serious work and family conflicts over the issue.
When work is that stressful, employees tend to take those problems into their home. That will surely create personal issues too, and they bring that home stress back to work. It becomes a cycle that isn't healthy for workers, and impacts the company's productivity and retention.
But how can warehouse workers manage and reduce stress?
- Pay attention to what your body is telling you - Some work tasks involve repetitive postures or movements, make sure you're doing them right and if the pain persists, look for professional help.
- If your tasks are not clear, talk to your manager - Don't feel that you have to guess what to do. You're part of a team, always ask your colleagues and management for clarification. It's always better to ask than make assumptions.
- If you can't talk to others at work about problems - The work environment can often be intimidating. In this case, try to have a private conversation with your line manager. If even having a conversation with your line manager can be a challenge, the healthier choice is to start looking for a new job where you feel more comfortable.
- Breathe - Sounds silly, but this makes a huge difference. People usually take shallow breaths. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and then let that breath out slowly - this will help slow down and reduce your negative physical reactions to stress.
- Relax your muscles - Close your hands tightly, hold for 5 seconds, and slowly release your fingers one by one. Shrug your shoulders towards your ears, hold for 5 seconds, and release. These are simple exercises you can repeat several times, anywhere, and will make you feel more relaxed.
- Take the breaks you are given - If there’s a park or bit of nature nearby, go there. If your work environment is stressing you out, try going someplace else, even if for some minutes. You need a break, especially if you’re stressed.
- Get enough sleep - If you’ve ever spent a night tossing and turning, you know how you’ll feel the next day — tired and cranky. Your body needs sleep, just as it needs air and food to function. Get plenty of sleep. Show up to work rested and ready.
- Value your time off - Having some time off is extremely important to rest, and looking forward to those days can be a form of stress relief as well. Make sure you plan some quality time for when you're not working - do something with your friends and family, eat your favorite meal, watch your favorite TV show or just block some time to do absolutely nothing. Having something to look forward to can be very helpful.
- Tell someone you're struggling with stress - It's very important to talk to someone, even if that's a friend outside your work environment. They may be able to help you, or point you to someone who can.
- If you have difficulties talking about your stress with anyone - You might feel more comfortable speaking with someone you don't personally know. If this is the case, check out these free options to get help.
Work-related stress can happen to anyone. Feeling some tension is normal, especially in busy workplaces like warehouses, but when work stress becomes chronic, it can end up affecting both your physical and emotional well-being. Remember to always look after yourself. And if you're interested in joining Shiftfillers, check out our current openings today.