It’s possible to find a sweet spot between feeling challenged and overwhelmed on the job.

You probably have heard or even experienced how on-the-job stress impacts your health and productivity. But recent research is pointing to the ways a little bit of stress can actually be helpful.

It seems that acute stress, or brief periods of stress, can help the brain feel alert. This increased alertness equals better performance. In taking a look at the findings, Fast Company highlights some ways leaders can harness work-related stress to help their employees improve performance and feel more energized than exhausted.

  • Assign big tasks, one at a time. Giving employees a single big task allows them to focus and set clear, realistic goals.
  • Give team members control. Shifting priorities and deadlines can exacerbate chronic stress. Help control stress levels by working with employees to set achievable goals and deadlines.
  • Set tough, but achievable goals. Push employees out of their comfort zone by giving them new responsibilities – this kind of stress can encourage them to take on new challenges and learn more.

It’s impossible to banish workplace stress altogether. But there are ways to challenge employees to reach their potential and contribute to a healthier, productive workplace. Read on to see what the research says about encouraging a workplace stress and managing the right amount of healthy stress.