Stress, stress, everywhere you look, including workplace stress. But nowhere more than at the workplace. Workplace stress causes hours and hours of lost productivity for companies, while for the employees the stress can cause ill health or the loss of their job. What are the causes of stress in your workplace and what can be done about it?
Coping With Workplace Stress
There are several issues that cause workplace stress. One of the top stressors is your workload. If there is too much work for you to handle, it’s going to cause stress. Is this a temporary problem such as a looming deadline for a big project? Temporary extra work is easier to fix if you organize yourself. Plan out your project and create lists to follow to best make use of your time. If you can outsource any of the more menial work consider doing that to reduce your load.
Another big stressor is constant interruptions. These interruptions can come in the form of phone calls, meetings, coworkers showing up at your desk, sudden priority emails, or any number of other things. Minimize the distractions as best you can; answer priority emails quickly with as few words as possible or send them on to someone else who should be handling it, turn off your phone or have an assistant hold your calls, and keep meetings short and to the point or ask if the issue can be handled by email. Sometimes it works to keep your phone ear piece on so when a coworker comes by to chat, they’ll keep on going because they think you’re on the phone. If that doesn’t stop them, let them know that you’re occupied with a task at hand but can quickly answer one question.
Conflicts and Workplace Stress
Conflicts with coworkers is another cause of work stress. Your best bet is to try to avoid any unpleasantness by avoiding the employees that give you problems as best you can. If you must work with them, try using email to communicate and stick to the assignment at hand. You can also try to adjust your attitude by finding at least one thing that’s likeable about the other person. You can still enjoy your job without having to love everybody there.
Fear of job loss can certainly cause stress. Communicate with your company to find out just how founded your fears are. Layoff rumors and business downturn stories may be untrue and unfounded. If you find the rumors are true, then you can formulate a plan and take action. Taking action reduces stress.
Sometimes the stress is from not knowing what is expected of you in your job or not knowing how to do your job. Again, communicate your concerns and ask for guidance and/or proper job training.
How to Relieve Workplace Stress
Communicating your needs with management can go a long way in relieving stress, but there additional ways. Exercise in the off hours and even stretching at your desk is known to help alleviate stress. Try a quick walk outdoors at lunchtime. Nature plus fresh air are good stress relievers.
Playing relaxing music with headphones will relax you and keep the stressors at bay. So will closing your eyes and concentrating on slowing down your breathing. Take a brief vacation in your mind to anywhere that makes you happy.
Change your perspective and attitude. Look at the problem from a distance, as if you were looking at someone else’s problem. This can help you come up with solutions. When you start replaying a conflict over and over, tell your thoughts to “Stop!”
Sometimes you just need a vacation to unwind and refresh your batteries. If you can’t get away, plan on taking some evening-only vacations and plan something fun for those evenings.
Workplace stress is a very real problem that’s not going away. Learn what causes you stress at work and find appropriate ways to deal with it from the above suggestions.