This Business English lesson plan on workplace stress has been designed for business professionals or other adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.
Many people claim to work better under pressure, and it is true that stress can help us focus to accomplish the task at hand. But too much pressure, or pressure over a long period of time, can lead to serious health problems. Everyone has felt stressed at various points during their career, and learning how to reduce that stress is crucial for our well-being. In this Business English lesson plan on stress at work, students will have the opportunity discuss and express their opinions on issues such as causes of stress, experiences of working under pressure and the consequences of feeling too stressed.
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):
The article lists 10 ways we can reduce stress, including living an active lifestyle, connecting with people, and avoiding unhealthy habits. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was written? Can they think of any other ways to reduce stress?
To save time in class, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below at home. In the class, the students will answer a number of conversation questions directly or indirectly related to the content of the video.
The video for this class is a TED Talk by Kelly McGonigal called “How to make stress your friend” which talks about how to manage stress at work.
The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.
This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means, if they agree with it and how it could relate to business. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including the biggest causes of stress at work, how well the students work under pressure, and which jobs are the most and least stressful.
After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with stress such as burnt out, workaholic and snowed under. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.
If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the conversation questions. Before the conversation, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.
Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about stress in the workplace. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as how stress affects productivity, the effect of working under pressure on mental health, and whether stress affects men or women more.
After the class, students will write an email to their team to advise them how to manage their stress and avoid stressful situations. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise business-style writing as well as improving their grammar with the feedback from their teacher.