How can you reduce work-related stress?

How can you reduce work-related stress?

Stress is the body’s natural response to change. When you get into a situation you’ve never been in, for example, you might feel nauseous or anxious — that’s the manifestation of stress.

And nowhere does stress thrive better than at the workplace, where deadlines loom, tasks pile up left and right, processes require quick adoption, and office drama doesn’t cease. According to the Health and Safety Executive, the following are signs of work-related stress:

Signs of stress in teams Signs of stress in an employee
  • Arguments
  • Higher staff turnover
  • More reports of stress
  • More sickness absence
  • Decreased performance
  • More complaints and grievances
  • Taking more time off
  • Arriving for work later
  • Being more twitchy or nervous
  • Being withdrawn
  • Loss of motivation, commitment, and confidence
  • Increased emotional reactions, such as being sensitive or aggressive

Research also revealed that 39% of employees feel stressed at least once a week at work. This high percentage can lead to productivity dips, workplace conflicts, or missed business targets. It can also lead to poor work-life balance and other health problems.

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Try these tips on how to manage work-related stress.

Do’s

✓ Prioritise – You don’t have to tackle everything at once. Productivity experts recommend ‘eating the frog’ first thing in the morning (or whatever time of day you get to work). This means facing the greatest, scariest, ugliest task of the day that you really don’t want to do but have to. Once you get that frog over with, the rest of your shift will be easier to swallow.

Breaking down a huge task into smaller tasks also helps to make work less overwhelming, and to-do lists allow you to keep track of what you have done and what you still have to do.

✓ Organise – Your untidy desk could be contributing to your stress. After all, studies have shown that clutter decreases productivity. Take a few minutes to remove unnecessary items from your workstation, like conference freebies and outdated flyers.

You can also try organising your email. For starters, you can empty the contents of your spam folder. Ultimately, though, people have different ways of organising, so it’s best to find the productivity and organisation app that works for you.

✓ Get connected – Talk to the people who bring light into your life. Call your best friend, chat with colleagues who make you laugh, or eat lunch with them. Stress can drain you, and connecting with supportive, positive, and empathetic people can help you energize.

✓ Exercise – Start exercising regularly, or add more variety to your exercise routine. According to health experts, cardio exercises like running, swimming, or cycling can decrease overall levels of tension, improve self-esteem, and elevate moods. If you don’t have time to go to the gym, try incorporating exercises into your routine: take the stairs, walk during lunch, or stretch your limbs from time to time.

✓ Be comfortable – Get rid of the small things that stress you out and make you physically uncomfortable. If the light in the room is too bright for your liking, dim it. Find an ergonomic chair that doesn’t give you back pain. Physical comfort goes a long way to ease a burdened mind.

Don’ts

✗ Do all the work yourself – Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Doing so will not only overwork you, but will also deprive your workmates of the opportunity to learn and grow. Remember that as much as you should help your team, your team is also there to help you. Learn to delegate, and learn to trust your people.

✗ Try to make everything perfect – It’s all right to set the bar high, but if you’re constantly worried about turning in flawless work so you revise and revise, then you’re only giving yourself unnecessary trouble. Especially when there are multiple deadlines that require you to prioritise one project over the other, remember that done is better than perfect.

✗ Multitask – Multitasking can create the illusion that you’re doing many parallel things and making progress in each one. In reality, it can make you lose your focus. It can disrupt your flow by requiring you to switch from one task to another.

The brain copes with these varied and numerous demands by pumping out stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, too much of which can lead to chronic problems. Multitasking also causes fatigue: it drains the brain of glucose, the body’s primary source of energy.

✗ Sweat over things you can’t control – Traffic was terrible, so you got to work an hour late. The client changed their minds and wanted the opposite of what they previously asked. These situations are out of your hands, and you should be proactive in dealing with them. Stress comes in when you want to change something that cannot be undone. Let it go.

‘What if the internet is down?’ you may ask. ‘What if the printer doesn’t work? What if I accidentally deleted my files?’ Well, technology is something you can control. When you partner with Office Tek, we’ll make sure that your IT is an asset, not a source of headaches. Let us reduce work stress for you by taking care of your technology. Find out more.

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