Managing Stress in the Workplace

We’ve all experienced some form of stress—it’s nothing new. However, recent global events have added new stressors and made existing ones more prevalent in the workplace—whether that’s the office, home, or a third place. Employers who provide the right resources to address their employees’ emotional and physical well-being will build a more resilient workforce—with the ability to “bounce back” from adverse conditions and stress. They will also have an easier time attracting and retaining the best performing, most talented people.


Want to Reduce Employee Stress & Build Resilience in the Workplace?

Download our eBook to learn more about the “whys” and “hows” of stress management for work, including:

  • Why people experience stress and burnout at work
  • The monumental impact of stress on an organization
  • How to manage stress at work through culture and design 
  • Resources that build a resilient workforce
  • Design that mitigates stress, boosts performance, and fosters well-being



Design for Reduced Stress & Better Performance

As many as 42 percent of people left a job due to stress. Organizations can help buffer employees from stress and burnout through design. Workspaces that give people access to the specific resources they need—in the office and working from home—can reduce stress, improve performance, and attract and retain top talent.

Haworth supporting Resilience at work place through an ambient work environment

Ambient Qualities

Controlled noise levels, daylight access, healthy air quality, comfortable temperature, inviting aesthetics, connection to nature/greenery

Haworth supporting Resilience at work place  through forms of legibility such as signage


Smart plan configurations and wayfinding with landmarks, visual access, architectural differentiation, and signage

Haworth supporting Resilience at work place through user controlled features

User Control

Elements adapt to the user and/or activity, such as height-adjustable tables, adjustable ergonomic task seating, lighting, orientation/placement of workspace, screens 

Haworth supporting Resilience at work place by making coworkers easily accessible in person and virtually

Accessibility of Coworkers

Appropriate proximity and ease of interaction with coworkers—in person and virtually 

Haworth supporting Resilience at work place by promoting a healthy and trustworthy culture


Design, leadership, and “lived” values that promote trust and transparency

Chronic Stress & Burnout Hit Hard—But Resources Hit Harder

Some people have an internal ability to “step up” to challenges and maintain the appearance of normal performance in times of stress. While these individuals may seem better equipped to handle stress, continuous exposure to stressors will take its toll. This chronic stress most often leads to burnout, which can cause once top performers to experience perpetual exhaustion, alienation from their work, and poor performance. However, people whose employers provide resiliency resources are less likely to experience chronic stress and burnout.

See our research on stress and burnout in the “Resilience at Work” white paper.

Haworth supporting Resilience at work place for sensory processing sensitive employees through equity considerations

Equity Considerations for Individuals 

Some of the most empathetic and highest performing individuals are those with sensory processing sensitivity (SPS), which results in a heightened response to stimuli and stress. This group accounts for roughly 30 percent of the population. Also associated with a wide range of cognitive conditions, including ADHD, anxiety, autism, and PTSD, SPS can put an individual at greater risk for chronic stress and burnout. This makes it extremely important to bolster their resources against stressors in the workplace. 

In-Office Resources

With today’s office serving as a hub for connection, it needs to be more dynamic than ever, offering resources that help people feel a sense of community and alignment to their organizational culture. Values, policy, and leadership are important. In terms of space design, individuals will experience the same built environment in different ways. However, ambient qualities, legibility, and culture are generally the most influential resources in the office. Adding resources in these categories tends to be most beneficial in mitigating stress and improving performance by up to 19 percent. On the other hand, if these resources are lacking, performance could decrease by as much. 


A Haworth employee working from home using Haworth chair and desk

Work from Home Resources Matter Too

With our Work from Anywhere ecosystem here to stay, people are continuing to work at least part of the time at home and in third places. This makes tools and technology to collaborate and stay in touch some of the most important resources an organization can furnish to its offsite employees. Other resource categories valued by remote workers include user control and ambient qualities. People working from home will appreciate a space that supports them in their work activities—similar to the office. Providing them with height-adjustable desks, ergonomic seating, and/or desk lighting can go a long way. Adding resource offerings such as these can contribute to a performance increase (or decrease, if lacking) of up to 23 percent. 

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