Stress In the Workplace

Good Stress, Bad Stress, and High Focus Work Performance

Stress in the workplace can cause problems. For the individual, high stress can create ill health.1 For the organization, stress can increase absenteeism, healthcare costs, and turnover.2 It’s understandable that most people want to reduce stress; but, this perspective about stress addresses only one type of stress: distress. Research also indicates that how we think about stress is as important as how much stress we experience, and that the right kind and amount of stress—eustress—helps us reach peak performance.3 From our study in the Haworth Human Performance Lab looking at the effects of visual distractions on focus work, we see how this plays out in the workplace and offer some ways to manage stress for high-focus work.