Stress in the Workplace 55-Minute Lesson [Draft]

Written by Kenny

I. Warm-up

A. Add the verbs from the list below to the phrases (1-10) to create some common stressful situations.

being • finding • going • having • making • moving • shopping • traveling • taking • waiting

1. ____________ to the dentist
2. ____________ in a long line (queue)
3. ____________ stuck in a traffic jam
4. ____________ a parking space
5. ____________ with your partner / family
6. ____________ house
7. ____________ an interview
8. ____________ a speech
9. ____________ by air
10. ____________ an exam or a test 


B. Which of the above situations is the most stressful for you? Can you add any to the list?


C. What do you do to relax? Which of these activities are the most effective for you, and why? In what other ways to you relax?

playing a sport • reading • eating / drinking • having a bath • walking

gardening • massage  shopping • listening to music • watching TV

meditating • browsing online • blogging • social media


D. Rank these situations from 1 (most stressful) to 10 (least stressful). Then discuss your choices.

___ making a presentation to senior executives

___ leading a formal meeting

___ having a conference call in English

___ writing a report with a tight deadline

___ negotiating a very valuable contract

___ meeting important visitors from abroad for the first time

___ asking your boss for a pay raise

___ dealing with a customer who has a major complaint

___ covering for a colleague who is away


II. Vocabulary


A. Match the words (1-8) with their defnitions (a-h):


1. lifestyle

2. workaholic

3. workload

4. deadline

5. flexitime

6. work-life balance

7. quality of life

8. working environment


a. a system where employees choose the time they start and finish work each day

b. a time or date by which you have to do something

c. how personally satisfied you are with the way you live and work

d. someone who cannot stop working and has no time for anything else

e. the ability to give a good amount of time to your work and to outside interests (e.g. family)

f. the amount of work a person is expected to do

g. the people, things and atmosphere around you at work

h. the way people choose to organize their lives


B. Complete each sentence with an appropriate word or phrase from exercise A: 


I worked until 11 o'clock at night to meet the ____________ for presenting the report.


I work six days a week and never have a holiday. My girlfriend says I'm a ____________.


Karl has a heavy ____________ at the moment because several colleagues are out sick.


She gave up a highly paid job to join a meditation group in India. She's completely changed her ____________.


A ____________ system can help to reduce stress levels of employees by giving them more control over their working hours.


If you have children, working from home may help improve your ____________.


Many people argue that technology has greatly improved our ____________ and the way we feel about work.


Others disagree, arguing that it actually increases stress.


A clean, quiet, comfortable and friendly ____________ can actively reduce stress levels.


C. Make sentences using some of the vocabulary items from exercise A to describe your own situation. 


III. Discussion

Do you like working under pressure? Why or why not?

What deadlines do you have to meet in your daily life? Which are the most difficult to meet?

Why do people become workaholics?

How important is the working environment in reducing stress? 


IV. Homework

Write a short recommendation outlining your practical suggestions for reducing stress in the workplace. Include suggestions for both long-term and short-term stress reduction. 








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