Focus On Stories And Examples That Communicate A Moment Of Personal Growth
This will help any potential employer understand how you turn stress into a positiveespecially if you give examples where stress has actually helped your work in some way.
Here are a few examples of a good response to this question, for reference:
Planning is an important tool in handling stress for me. Drawing up detailed plans for projects and even my daily work helps me to get ahead of stressful situations. When stress does inevitably arise, planning helps me to tackle the situation one step at a time to prioritize what needs to be done in an efficient way for myself and my colleagues. In fact, some of my best work in streamlining processes has come from a stressful situation. Ive been able to design simpler, more efficient workflows with less room for error.
Stress can be a big motivator for me. A healthy amount of pressure helps me produce efficient, quality work by giving me a picture of what my colleagues need from me and when. Ive experienced stressful situations that bring my team together, and have seen some of our best work come from pressure.
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How To Handle An Employee Off With Work
Kate LHR ConsultantKate is a Chartered MCIPD HR Consultant specialising in employee relations, reward and mental health in the workplace.
Work-related stress, anxiety and depression now account for more than half of work absences in Great Britain. With two-fifths of organisations reporting that stress-related absence has increased in the last year, its becoming a pressing issue for todays employers.
Stress impacts staff productivity and retention, which in turn affects profitability and stability in a business of any size, so its an issue thats important to address. Its also, by law, an employers responsibility to do so.
Having a stress at work policy and carrying out stress-related risk assessments are essential to managing and reducing stress in the workplace.
But if you find yourself faced with an employee whos already been signed off with stress, what practical steps can you take?
In this post well cover:
Make Time For Regular Exercise
Aerobic exerciseactivity that raises your heart rate and makes you sweatis a hugely effective way to lift your mood, increase energy, sharpen focus, and relax both the mind and body. Rhythmic movementsuch as walking, running, dancing, drumming, etc.is especially soothing for the nervous system. For maximum stress relief, try to get at least 30 minutes of activity on most days. If its easier to fit into your schedule, break up the activity into two or three shorter segments.
And when stress is mounting at work, try to take a quick break and move away from the stressful situation. Take a stroll outside the workplace if possible. Physical movement can help you regain your balance.
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Too Much/too Little Work
You may think that having too little work wouldnt be stressful, but it can be incredibly so. Not having work means a lot of downtime with nothing to do. Days drag on and it can be stressful feeling unfulfilled. On the other hand, being overwhelmed with an impossible amount of work can be stressful, and cause other problems. Staying late or working extra hours can cut into personal time, which is a problem well address when talking about the next stress factor. Whether you have too much or too little work, your workload should be balanced out.
It may not be what you want to hear, but the best solution for both situations is an honest conversation with your boss. The conversation about having too little work should be fairly simple. Let your boss know you dont feel challenged enough, and think you have more to offer the company if there is any other way you can help. Just dont be surprised if you suddenly have a lot more to do!
Telling your boss you have too much work isnt a conversation that will come as easily. However, it will be for the best. As long as you are an otherwise dependable worker, its okay to go to your boss and tell them you are feeling overwhelmed. Just let them know what you believe can help, and reinforce that you want to be at your best.
Avoid Irregular Work Schedules As Much As Possible
Salaried workers donât have to deal with varying work schedules, but hourly employees do. And itâs a huge stressor. Almost 30% of workers with irregular schedules report having serious work and family conflicts over the issue.
Random shift changes, on-call work schedules can all lead to stress, because workers are constantly in limbo when it comes to balance between work and life. They never know when theyâll need to work with much advance, and itâs difficult for them to make personal plans or even decompress when they could be called to work at any moment.
Try to create schedules that your employees can âbankâ on. Make sudden changes as rare as possible. Make it possible for your employees to rely on a steady schedule enough that they can arrange a solid personal life around their work schedule. This will help them return to work refreshed.
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Tell Someone You Are Struggling With Stress
It helps to tell someone that youâre struggling with stress, whether thatâs a manager or a coworker. They may be able to help you, or point you to someone who can.
Take The Breaks You Are Given
Take your allotted breaks.
If thereâs a park or bit of nature nearby, go there. If your work environment is stressing you out, try to change your environment, either by going someplace else or by reading to get your mind in a different place.
You need a break, especially if youâre stressed. If management makes it difficult to take a break, press the issue. You have a legal right to breaks.
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What The Interviewer Wants To Know
The interviewer really wants to know whether you can handle job-related stress, and what you do in particularly stressful situations at work. This is especially important if youre interviewing for a position where stress is an integral part of the job. That’s because job stress can have a negative impact on workplace performance.
The hiring manager may also be wondering whether stressful issues outside of work can impact your job performance. Employers look for candidates who can deal with a range of stressful situations, whether these are personal or work-related.
What Are Some Strategies To Reduce Stress
It may not be possible to remove the stress from your life, but managing your stress may help you to get things done.
Below are some ideas for managing stress.
- Take charge deal with unhelpful sources of stress before they build up and become a bigger problem.
- Make choices look at areas in your life where you could manage your situation better or change the way you respond.
- If youre already feeling stressed, consider postponing major changes like changing jobs or moving house.
- Sort out any personal conflicts or relationship problems by communicating honestly and seeking counselling.
- Spend time doing things you enjoy.
- Try to avoid long hours at work. Learn to say no.
- Try to avoid smoking, alcohol and caffeine.
If youre feeling stressed, its a good idea to have a general health check with your doctor. You can talk to your doctor about ways to help you bounce back and cope with stress.
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Physical Signs And Symptoms Of Burnout
- Feeling tired and drained most of the time.
- Lowered immunity, frequent illnesses.
- Frequent headaches or muscle pain.
- Change in appetite or sleep habits.
How To Answer How Do You Handle Stress
To answer this question successfully, you’ll want to provide specific examples of how you’ve handled stress well in the past. You might also provide examples of times when pressure actually made you work more productively.
Be careful how you respond. If you say you get stressed when you’re given multiple projects, and you know the job will require you to juggle many assignments at once, youll look like you’re not a good fit for the position.
Consider mentioning how a little stress can be a helpful motivator for you. Try to provide an example of a time when the stress of a difficult project helped you be a more creative and productive worker.
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Stress At Work Risk Assessment
As a manager, you should complete a workplace risk assessment together with an individual employee or with their team to identify stressors in the workplace.
The risk assessment measures 6 key potential sources of stress at work:
- demands – excessive demands or conflicts in the working environment
- control – having inadequate say over how work is done
- support – having inadequate support from managers or co-workers
- relationships – being subjected to unacceptable behaviours including harassment or violence
- role – not understanding roles and responsibilities
- change – not being involved and informed in organisational change
You should put a plan in place to reduce employees’ exposure to workplace stressors.
A risk assessment should be carried out :
- proactively with an individual employee or collaboratively with a team or
- with an individual employee or with a team that may be experiencing workplace stress
What Can Employers Do To Address Stress In Their Workplace
There are many strategies that can help control stress and reduce its impact to a person or in the workplace. Since the causes of workplace stress vary greatly, so do the strategies to reduce or prevent it.
Where stress in the workplace is caused, for example, by a physical agent, it is best to control it at its source. If the workplace is too loud, control measures to deal with the noise should be implemented where ever possible. If you are experiencing pain from repetitive strain, workstations can be re-designed to reduce repetitive and strenuous movements. More detailed information and suggestions are located in the many other documents in OSH Answers or by asking the Inquiries Service.
Job design is also an important factor. Good job design accommodates an employee’s mental and physical abilities. In general, the following job design guidelines will help minimize or control workplace stress:
- the job should be reasonably demanding and provide the employee with at least a minimum of variety in job tasks
- the employee should be able to learn on the job and be allowed to continue to learn as their career progresses
- the job should comprise some area of decision-making that the individual can call his or her own.
- there should be some degree of social support and recognition in the workplace
- the employee should feel that the job leads to some sort of desirable future
Employers should assess the workplace for the risk of stress. Look for:
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Prepare Ahead Of Time As Much As Possible
The most stressful time of the day for workers is the morning, or when they start their shift.
You canât always prepare everything ahead of time. If someone leaves a mess when you arrive for your shift, thereâs not much you can do about it other than try to work with them and get them to do better.
But, wherever possible, prep ahead of time. Think of it like this: how you start your work day sets the tone for the rest of it. If you start it in a panic, a rush, the whole day is going to be stressful. Itâll feel as if you never get caught up or on good footing.
Preparing ahead of time might be:
- Setting up tools or products that youâll need to use.
- Mentally considering challenges youâll face and how youâll diffuse them.
- Exercising, or physically preparing yourself for the work you need to do to avoid physical injury or tiredness.
Why Employers Ask This Interview Question
Interviewers ask how do you handle stress and pressure? because they want to know what to expect after they hire you. This is one of the most common interview questions youll hear.
Very few jobs go 100% according to plan, and they want to hire someone who can stay calm and think clearly to get through the situation. And ideally, they want someone whos been tested in the past and experienced some work-related stress before.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Burnout
Most of us have days when we feel helpless, overloaded, or unappreciatedwhen dragging ourselves out of bed requires the determination of Hercules. If you feel like this most of the time, however, you may be burned out.
Burnout is a gradual process. It doesnt happen overnight, but it can creep up on you. The signs and symptoms are subtle at first, but become worse as time goes on. Think of the early symptoms as red flags that something is wrong that needs to be addressed. If you pay attention and actively reduce your stress, you can prevent a major breakdown. If you ignore them, youll eventually burn out.
Balancing Demands And Pressures With Skills And Knowledge
A person experiences stress when they perceive that the demands of their work are greater than their ability to cope.
Coping means balancing the demands and pressures placed on you with your skills and knowledge .
For example, if you give a member of your team a tight deadline on a project they feel they have neither the skills nor ability to do well, they may begin to feel undue pressure which could result in work-related stress.
Stress can also result from having too few demands, as people will become bored, feel undervalued and lack recognition. If they feel they have little or no say over the work they do or how they do it, this may cause them stress.
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What Are Practical Ways To Reduce The Impact Of Stress
Life is often stressful, but there are things you can do to become more resilient and cope with lifes ups and downs.
- Exercise: Regular exercise can relieve tension, relax the mind and reduce anxiety.
- Time management: Developing regular routines and planning ahead can reduce the chaos that can lead to stress.
- Spend time with family or friends: Being with people you find uplifting, resolving personal conflicts, and talking about your feelings can help.
- Look after your health: Maintain a healthy diet, ensure you get enough sleep and avoid using drugs and alcohol to cope.
- Do things you enjoy.
- Change your thinking: Sometimes stress is more about our perceptions or attitudes to a situation than the situation itself. Unrealistic expectations of yourself or others can lead to stress. If you have a tendency to negative thinking, it can help to write down these thoughts, try to come up with a more realistic view and focus on the positive.
- Cognitive behaviour therapy : This involves working with a therapist to change your thinking patterns.
Setting A Goal To Reduce Stress
First, identify what’s creating stress at work. Maybe it’s lack of control over your job. Or maybe it’s worry about losing your job or how you are doing at work. You might feel stress because you’re unable to express your thoughts and ideas to your boss and co-workers.
Think about why you want to reduce stress at work. You might want to protect your heart and your health by reducing stress. Or maybe you simply want to enjoy your life more and not let work stress control how you feel. Your reason for wanting to change is important. If your reason comes from youâand not someone elseâit will be easier for you to make a healthy change for good.
Next, set a goal for yourself that involves reducing your stress level. Think about both a long-term and a short-term goal.
Here are a few examples:
After setting your goals, think about what might get in your way. Use a personal action plan to write down your goals, the possible barriers, and your ideas for getting past them. By thinking about these barriers now, you can plan ahead for how to deal with them if they happen.
Most important, make sure you get support from friends and family in your efforts to reduce job stress. If your company has an employee assistance program, you might use it to talk with a counsellor. A counsellor can help you set goals and provide support in dealing with setbacks.
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