When Changing Jobs May Be The Answer
Sometimes, despite all of your best efforts to maintain your sanity, its just impossible to deal with your work, whether thats because of a toxic work culture, excessive demands, or overwhelming pressure. If you have tried everything and are still stuck with anxiety at work, it may be time for you to rethink your career. Ask yourself:
- Do I want to change job roles and duties?
- Do I want to look for a job at a healthier and happier workplace?
Remember that no job is worth your physical or mental well-being.
Employee Assignments Should Challenge Their Abilities Without Overwhelming Them
Employees need to be challenged but not overloaded. Challenge helps employees develop skills, makes work interesting, and helps maintain motivation.
But it is just not possible for people to perform well for extended periods of time when workloads are to heavy. Working this way leads to irritability, exhaustion, reduced productivity and ultimately, illness, and injury.
Do This: Give employees the option of calling a time out when they feel overwhelmed. This will help establish a norm around working smarter, not harder. Employees can easily identify unproductive activities when asked. Asking them on a periodic basis will help you keep your operations streamlined.
Be Clear On Requirements
A factor known to contribute to job burnout is unclear requirements for employees. If you dont know exactly what is expected of you, or if the requirements for your role keep changing with little notice, you might become extremely stressed.
If you find yourself never knowing if what you are doing is enough, it may help to have a talk with your supervisor. You can take the time to go over expectations and discuss strategies for meeting them. This can relieve stress for both of you!
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Make Time For Workplace Wellness
Your workplace should support your sustained wellbeing throughout the day. Say it again so you dont forget. Hard work needs balance to be sustainable. Now, not everyone is lucky enough to have a dedicated home office, but there are plenty of small things you can do to make your work from home experience more enjoyable and healthier. Some excellent items to facilitate this are:
- Greenery in your scenery.
- In addition to improving the air quality, adding indoor plants to your desktop can have a soothing effect and make your space feel calmer.
Schedule Time To Be Active
Without a daily commute, many Americans have gotten back a significant chunk of time53.2 minutes on average, according to TitleMax. With nearly an hour back that would have previously been spent sitting on a bus, train or in a car, theres now more time and reason to be active.
All three experts agreethere needs to be a focus on prioritizing and setting boundaries in relation to work versus life, and communicating those needs with your supervisor and your team.
People are getting Zoom fatigue, so a lot of times were having walking meetings, Lillie said. Youre both walking and talking, and youre still getting things done.
Mitchell also recommends a schedule, a practice she utilized prior to the pandemic as well.
Setting the schedule brings sort of a normalcyI mean, the schedules different, but that doesnt mean you get to spend that time working more, Mitchell said.
Even setting up a calendar to better lay out when specific tasks need to be complete is invaluable for relieving the pressure of staying on whenever youre near your desk.
Youre going to work 9 to 5, and then at 5 oclock, its okay to do a workout or whatever is needed in your schedule, she said. Unless its a matter of life or death, do you need to do this right now?
Additionally, its important to understand the importance of both physical activity versus exercise , and having both in a work day.
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Encourage Employees To Take Breaks
As Jason Schreier wrote in The New York Times, workplace cultures that encourage non-stop work have damaging effects on their employees. He outlined a phenomenon called crunching, where video game developers work as many as 20 hours a day for days or weeks on end.
The designer Clint Hocking described suffering memory loss as a result of the stress and anxiety of crunching on a game. Brett Douville, a veteran game programmer, said he once worked so long and for so hard that he found himself temporarily unable to step out of his car.
If your employees are overloaded and continually sacrificing their leisure time to get stuff out the door, it might be time to reconsider their workload such as hiring more employees, or changing expectations.
And by encouraging them to take breaks throughout the day, employees will come back to the office less stressed and more productive.
Ways To Eliminate Stress At Work
The average business professional has 30 to 100 projects on their plate. Modern workers are interrupted seven times an hour and distracted up to 2.1 hours a day. And four out of 10 people working at large companies are experiencing a major corporate restructuring, and therefore facing uncertainly about their futures. This may be why more than 40% of adults say they lie awake at night plagued by the stressful events of the day.
“People are asking me for answers,” says Sharon Melnick, Ph.D., a business psychologist and author of just released Success Under Stress. “Everyone feels overwhelmed and overly busy.”
Is there a way to maintain steady focus throughout the day? Is it possible to do everything that needs to get done and still have energy left over after work? How do you keep cool under so many demands? Informed by 10 years of Harvard research and field-tested by more than 6,000 clients and trainees, Melnick offers the following strategies to take your work stress down a peg, before it takes over your life.
Act Rather Than React
Take A Deep Breath
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or are coming out of a tense meeting and need to clear your head, a few minutes of deep breathing will restore balance, says Melnick. Simply inhale for five seconds, hold and exhale in equal counts through the nose. “It’s like getting the calm and focus of a 90-minute yoga class in three minutes or less at your desk,” she says.
Schedule Your Day For Energy And Focus
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Accept The Things You Can’t Change
Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over.
“If your company is going under and is making redundancies, for example, there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Professor Cooper.
“In a situation like that, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.”
Rethink The Workplace Culture
Your workplace culture sets the tone for every employee. If the company culture emphasizes a highly competitive environment, no breaks and long hours, you and everyone else will likely be stressed forever. Evaluate the culture and ensure it supports stress management. Improve the culture with little changes to help everyone reduce their stress.
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Start With Your Organizations Leadership Structure
Workloads aside, stress in the workplace trickles down from decisions at the top.
As part of your organizations leadership, you must continuously work to monitor employee stress levels and address any harmful emotional states.
Your leadership and managerial teams can control stress in the workplace by:
- Leading by example in every aspect of the business. This includes managing your own stress in a healthy way.
- Regularly communicating in a transparent manner to all employees about job performance, job responsibilities, company health, company goals and reiterating the company vision.
When employees feel reassured, know how their efforts fit into the big picture, have a sense of control over their work duties, and understand how the company is doing and what the short- and long-term goals are, work takes on a higher meaning and stress levels are reduced.
Taking Steps To Manage Stress
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But Wait Where Is All This Stress Coming From In The First Place
Without question, some jobs are more stressful than others. But, by and large, stress is very personal. A certain job, task or encounter may be more stressful for one person than another. Because every employee deals with or expresses stress in different ways, it is difficult to pinpoint and address the root cause.
While some stress in the workplace is inevitable, employees should not feel constantly overwhelmed by it. Stress can and must be managed in your organization to ensure a positive, thriving culture and meaningful employee engagement. When culture and engagement are healthy, a multitude of other pieces of the successful organizations puzzle fall into place.
How does your organization work to manage and reduce the stress of its employees?
Tip : Break Bad Habits That Contribute To Workplace Stress
Many of us make job stress worse with negative thoughts and behavior. If you can turn these self-defeating habits around, youll find employer-imposed stress easier to handle.
Resist perfectionism. When you set unrealistic goals for yourself, youre setting yourself up to fall short. Aim to do your best no one can ask for more than that.
Flip your negative thinking. If you focus on the downside of every situation and interaction, youll find yourself drained of energy and motivation. Try to think positively about your work, avoid negative co-workers, and pat yourself on the back about small accomplishments, even if no one else does.
Dont try to control the uncontrollable. Many things at work are beyond our control, particularly the behavior of other people. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control, such as the way you choose to react to problems.
Look for humor in the situation. When used appropriately, humor is a great way to relieve stress in the workplace. When you or those around you start taking work too seriously, find a way to lighten the mood by sharing a joke or funny story.
Clean up your act. If your desk or work space is a mess, file and throw away the clutter just knowing where everything is can save time and cut stress.
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Start Your Day Off Right
After scrambling to get the kids fed and off to school, dodging traffic and combating road rage, and gulping down coffee in lieu of a healthy breakfast, many people arrive to work already stressed. This makes them more reactive to stress in the workplace.
You might be surprised by how affected by workplace stress you are when you have a stressful morning. When you start off the day with planning, good nutrition, and a positive attitude, you might find that the stress of your job rolls off your back more easily.
Take Care Of Your Physical Health
One of the most important things you can do for your physical and mental health is exercise and eat well. Although it may seem like a lot of work, the payoff is worth it. Exercise can release endorphins that make you feel good and help manage stress, depression and anxiety.
Eating well means eating food that will nourish your body and provide you with all the minerals and vitamins your body needs to deal with a stressful work environment. Looking after your physical health is vital for your well-being. The benefits are numerous, including increased energy, improved moods, reduced pain, better sleep quality and much more.
You may think that physical health has nothing to do with your mental health, but this is not the case. Your physical health can have a significant impact on your mental wellbeing. If you are not taking care of your body, then you are likely not taking care of your mind.
Physical health plays a significant role in determining a person’s quality of life. Studies have shown that a person who has good physical fitness and good mental health is more likely to be successful in the workplace and in other areas of their life.
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Task Management Tips For Reducing Job Stress
Prioritize tasks. 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.
Break projects into small steps. If a large project seems overwhelming, focus on one manageable step at a time, rather than taking on everything at once.
Delegate responsibility. You dont have to do it all yourself. Let go of the desire to control every little step. Youll be letting go of unnecessary stress in the process.
Be willing to compromise. Sometimes, if you and a co-worker or boss can both adjust your expectations a little, youll be able to find a happy middle ground that reduces the stress levels for everyone.
Employees Should Be Able To Rotate During Shifts From High To Lower Stress Tasks
High-stress tasks are sometimes an unavoidable part of work. However, performing these tasks without relief or variation can wear employees down to a point of exhaustion. Working at high-stress tasks for extended amounts of time will cause their work and health to suffer.
Do This: Schedule regular breaks for employees who perform high-stress activities. Give them assignments that vary by stress level so they can manage their workload by rotating tasks. Where employees work in teams, encourage job sharing so that no one person has a consistently heavy load.
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Employees Need Training To Do Their Jobs Well
One source of job stress is the disparity between a persons capabilities and the requirements of the job they are asked to perform. Often, this stress can be alleviated with training and education. An employee who is properly trained and educated will have the confidence and ability they need to do their job well and better manage their stress.
Do This: Provide training and continuing education for your employees. Most employers require new hires to be trained, but many do not provide on-going training.
Ask more experienced employees to assist in trainings. This will improve morale and will help transfer institutional knowledge from older to younger workers.
You can also allow employees to rotate through other divisions of the company for cross-training, provide access to external education at colleges or training centers, or even offer funding for distance learning through online programs.
Where possible, completion of training should be recognized and praised. Remember to regularly assess training programs by asking those who have been trained for their input and suggestions.
Stay Organized By Using Good Filing Systems And Creating Personal Rituals
The more organized your life, the less stressed you will be. Create a filing system that works for you, with folders for important documents, recent documents and projects. Develop an organizational plan that is easy to maintain.
This will save you time in the long run by making everything easily accessible. Consider creating rituals for your daily life. These may include personal routines like making tea before work or going on a walk every day during your afternoon break.
It can be tough to stay on top of things, but with some good filing systems and personal rituals, it’s possible. One way is to create a plan for where you’re going to put mail as soon as you receive it. If the mail is junk, throw it out or recycle it immediately. If the mail needs action or processing, put it in a folder or bin for that type of task.
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Employees Should Be Given Adequate Notice When There Is A Change In Policy Or Procedure
Change is stressful, especially when dealing with employment issues. However, the nature of the workplace is such that change is inevitable. If employees are advised early of changes in policy or procedure, the transition is much easier and less stressful as a result.
Do This: Talk to your employees. Let them know what is going on and keep them informed about future plans as early as you can. Discussing changes with them may open up valuable input from them so you can find the most effective solutions.
Work Shifts Need To Be Reasonable
Too many hours of demanding work will wear down and exhaust employees. Everyone needs time away from work to rest, recharge, and take care of other duties. A work/life balance helps maintain physical and emotional health and improves productivity. It also helps employees to manage stress.
Do This: Limit work shifts 10 hours or less and make sure employees have adequate time to rest before their next shift. This will improve morale and productivity, and reduce the risk of work injuries.
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