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Feeling Anxious? Don’t Relax, Get Excited!

ET Cases, 5 pages
AUTHOR(S) : Deepti Nair and Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Case Preview

Feeling Anxious? Don’t Relax, Get Excited!


Expected Learning Outcomes

• Relationship between employee performance and workplace stress
• Various approaches and techniques used to manage anxiety and regulate stress



Job Performance and Stress

1. Given below are some commonly experienced scenarios. Assuming that each one of you must have encountered one or more of the below mentioned  situations, which among the three, would best describe the emotion experienced by you – anxiety, tension or stress?

  • a) Your first ever public speaking experience
  • b) Last minute examination preparation for a subject that you are not particularly good at
  • c) The last few seconds before a competition commences, for example, a race, a quiz, a dance
  • performance, etc.
  • d) .................



Managing Anxiety

1. According to you, what are the smoking signals for employee burnout? What measures should be taken to prevent employees from a burnout scenario? What is the role of the HR in preventing employee burnout?

2. In certain professions like event management, neurosurgeons, sales, etc., high levels of stress are inherently embedded into the very nature of the job. What measures should be taken to cope-up with stress under such circumstances?

3. ............


Teaching Note Preview

Feeling Anxious? Don’t Relax, Get Excited!



This case flyer focuses on the growing stress levels among working professionals and its impact on employee productivity. It deliberates on the reasons that have resulted in the mounting pressure levels at workplaces and the importance of regulating stress in order to create a productive and happy workforce. What are the main reasons for employee burnout? Who is responsible for preventing employees from reaching a stage of burnout? The accompanying article highlights that it is only natural for human beings to feel nervous and anxious when faced with a challenging situation. The accompanying article not only showcases the benefits of regulated stress, but also throws light on the consequences, of letting stress levels go unchecked. Is trying to calm down under high pressure situations a futile effort? Can getting excited in stressful circumstances improve performance, in general, and employee productivity, in particular?

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • • Relationship between employee performance and workplace stress
  • • Various approaches and techniques to managing anxiety and regulating stress


Positioning and Setting

This case flyer can be used in the following course:

  • a) Organizational Behavior – Stress Management – How regulated stress can result in a productive workplace while unregulated stress levels may prove disastrous for employees and organizations alike.



Suggested Orchestration

Before the Case Flyer Discussion

a) The students were asked to watch the movie The Devil Wears Prada1 as it would help sensitize students towards the reality of stress at work. Set in the backdrop of the extremely competitive and glamorous fashion industry, the film unravels the story of a young, aspiring journalist, with poor fashion sensibilities, and her struggle to cope with the soaring stress levels of her job as she tries hard to please her tyrannical boss.

b) Watching this film before this case flyer discussion in the classroom will not only help students gain an insight into the real-time pressures of the corporate world but will also help them appreciate the reality that landing a job in a leading corporate house, marks the beginning of a challenging and testing journey.

c) Students were also asked to read the following articles:

• “Are You Working Too Hard”
• “Pull the Plug on Stress”
• “Your Innate Asset for Combating Stress”

d) The above mentioned articles will collectively help students gain an understanding of the various reasons for the mounting stress levels and the physiological and psychological response to these soaring pressure levels. These articles will also help sensitize students towards the inevitability of stress and how employees and organizations can benefit by regulating these pressure levels.

e) Most importantly, prior to the actual classroom discussion, the students were encouraged to analyze all the questions given in the case flyer (either individually or in learning teams or in appropriate discussion forums) to enable them to participate effectively and to enrich the learning outcomes.


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This case flyer and the accompanying article1 enable a discussion on the universally experienced phenomenon of stress and anxiety. It provides a platform to debate on the various factors that lead to nervousness and fretfulness among individuals and how should such demanding situations be handled. It is only natural for human beings to get worked-up when faced with taxing circumstances or tremendous pressure. Interestingly, the age old counsel to tackle such tensed moments has been to make attempts to calm down and to relax. Ironically, this has been one advice that has been easier to preach than practice.
Does stress experienced by individuals differ based on the nature of the job? Is there a relationship between employee burnout and performance pressure? Is the stress level experienced by an individual directly proportional to his/her age? The universality of this phenomenon has made it the subject of interest for researchers globally. New age researchers advocate transmuting nervous energy into excitement instead of making futile attempts at calming oneself down. How can excitement lend a performance edge?

Pedagogical Objectives

  • To understand the relationship between employee performance and workplace stress
  • To deliberate on the various approaches and techniques used to manage anxiety and regulate stress

1 Drake Bennett, 'Feeling Nervous? Don't Try to Calm Down; Get Excited', The Economic Times, January 3rd 2014

This Case Pack Includes:
 - Abstract
- Case Flyer
- Analysis

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