A little bit of stress can at times be motivating. It can help you stay focused, energetic, and able to meet new challenges in the workplace. Feeling constantly stressed at work can however make you chronically unhappy and decrease your productivity, leading to even more stress.
We recently surveyed business support professionals and asked them about their well-being in the workplace. Over 78% of respondents revealed feeling stressed in the workplace, while 42% revealed that job related stress has affected their personal life.
Work can be demanding. Long hours, tight deadlines, and ever increasing demands can leave you feeling overwhelmed, but that doesn’t mean you are powerless.
Asia Skifati, Senior Manager at Walters People Business Support, shares her 7 top tips to help you manage and reduce work-related stress.
1. Organise your workspace and workload
With competing deadlines and fast-changing priorities, it's critical to define what's truly important and why. Asia: "Prioritising and organising tasks on a weekly or daily basis allows you to break your work down into a series of achievable, bite-size steps. Tackle high-priority tasks first. If you have something particularly unpleasant to do, get it over with early. The rest of your day will be more pleasant as a result".
Make sure your desk is tidy and free of any clutter. Doing something as simple as cleaning your desk can clear your mind and increase your focus.
2. Say ‘no’ when you have to
With 48% of respondents revealing workload as the main cause of their work-related stress, it’s important to manage the expectations of people around you and not take on more than you can handle. "By taking on too much, you could end up doing nothing well. Simply saying 'not now' to tasks that are not a priority means you can reduce your stress levels", says Asia. These tasks can still go on your to-do list - the important thing is that you are not doing everything at once.
3. Clarify your job description
Job responsibilities not being in line with expectations were reported as the second main cause of stress in the workplace. If this is the case, it is important for you to ask your supervisor for an up to date description of your job duties and responsibilities. You may then be able to point out that some of the things you are expected to do are not part of your job description and gain a little leverage by showing that you've been putting in work over and above the parameters of your job.
4. Turn to your co-workers
Sometimes the best stress-reducer is simply sharing your stress with someone else. If you are feeling stressed it is important you talk to your colleagues about it. They will be able to offer advice on how to deal with stress and may even be able to help reduce some of your workload.
5. Take a break
Asia: "Taking a quick break and walking away from a stressful situation can help you regain your balance and take a fresh perspective on your work." Make sure to get up and take regular breaks throughout the day. Heading outside for some fresh air will help renew your energy and focus.
With 49% of respondents admitting that they have often worked through lunch in order to get the job done in time, it is important to also try to get away from your desk or work station for lunch. It will help you relax and recharge and be more, not less, productive.
6. Exercise before or after work
When you’re overly focused on work, it’s easy to neglect your physical health. Exercising before or after work helps relieve stress. It generates endorphins that increase happiness levels and help you sleep better, giving you a positive perspective on work.
It’s important to socialise outside of work and remove yourself completely from your work environment. Having a strong network of supportive friends and family members is extremely important to managing stress in all areas of your life. "Organising social occasions with friends will provide an environment where you can relax without thinking about your job", says Asia.
For more advice, check out our tips on how to lead a healthy life at work.