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  • Kick Ass Zombie Hunter

Under Pressure

Pink balloon hovering over a cactus

Stress and its impact not only on employee engagement and productivity but the health and welfare of people has been an ongoing concern for years in workplaces. However, the influx of changes (many sudden) and demands of the last three years have elevated these concerns.

Burnout is now recognized in the World Health Organization’s 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases as an occupational phenomenon resulting from chronic workplace stress.

This begs the question, is all stress bad?

The simple answer is no. Stress can be positive or negative, depending on the person, the situation, resources available, and duration.

Good stress, often called eustress can increase energy, motivation, and focus, as well as confidence, productivity, and even resilience.

Eustress happens when we see a problem or situation as a challenge that we can cope with and overcome.

Bad stress, or distress, is when we see a problem or situation as a threat we are unable to cope with or manage. This may leave us feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and hopeless and is more likely to have physical impacts like lack of sleep and focus, fatigue, headaches, mood changes, chest pains, and more. Consistent, long-term distress leads to burnout.

While some people natural handle stress better than others (and training can improve people’s abilities), the main thing organizations can do to increase eustress and decrease distress is not to look at the individual but the system they operate in.

The resources available to people play a significant role in whether they will experience good or bad stress. In workplaces, this could be time, knowledge, social support, tools, guidance, systems, processes and plans, a safe and inclusive environment, etc.

The more resources available, the better the chance the stress will be seen as a challenge, not a threat.

We don’t need workplaces free of stress. Instead, we need stress that brings out the best in us – not burning us out but lifting us up.



Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. How much of the stress you experience at work is distress versus eustress?

  2. Do you have the resources necessary to confidently work through workplace problems or situations?

  3. What can you do as a team/organization to turn distress into eustress?


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