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Managing Workplace Stress

Stress is common. It has been around forever in the workplace and frankly is probably more prevalent now than ever before. So many people are working longer hours – layoffs have created increased workloads for those who remain in the business. Additionally, for many individuals, they need to complete tasks much sooner than ever before as companies try to compete by getting products and services out to market quicker. And, on top of that, in some businesses there is so much confusion over who should be performing what role that stress is caused that makes it near impossible to successfully get the work done. Tensions at home due to increasing bills to be paid, financial issues, 401Ks and IRAs losing money, a spouse who may be unemployed and job hunting, trying to balance personal life with longer hours at work, etc., all serve to make us quite stressed out on a daily basis! Stress leads to illness, depression, and family problems. On the job it also leads to decreased morale, lashing out at fellow employees, and poor work performance.

So what can you do as an employee…

Realize that stress in the workplace is not going away anytime soon. You need to learn how to manage the stress so that it doesn’t get the best of you. Try some of the following to better manage stress in the workplace:

  • Better manage your time. Create “to do” lists, block time off on your calendar to work on tasks uninterrupted, send your phone to voicemail and close out email to reduce distractions
  • Learn some relaxation techniques. Try meditation at the office. Just take 10 – 15 minutes when you are beginning to feel stressed to meditate and relax.
  • Talk to someone. Don’t keep it all inside; find someone to talk to either inside the office or outside to talk to about stressful situations. Having someone to talk to often helps reduce the stress.
  • Take advantage of wellness programs. Take advantage of wellness programs and other stress-reduction and relaxation programs offered by your employer.
  • And what can you do as an employer…

Realize that employees may feel stressful on the job due to a variety of reasons. You can help to reduce that stress level by reaching out to your employees and understanding what is causing their stress. Try the following approaches to help reduce employee workplace-related stress:

  • Ensure that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. As the organization changes, roles and responsibilities must change also. Ensure that employees have updated role descriptions and understand their responsibilities within the business.
  • Provide training and professional development opportunities. Provide employees regular opportunities to improve their current skills and gain necessary new skills to be effective in an ever-changing work environment.
  • Regular meetings and communication. Hold regular meetings with your employees to check in and see where they need your support to meet their goals. Communicate frequently about what is going on in the business and communicate with your employees about their performance.
  • Provide support. Incorporate wellness programs into the benefits you offer employees. Encourage them to take advantage of programs offered.

Workplace stress is here to stay. Find ways to reduce and/or eliminate workplace stress that works for you.

How about you? What methods have you used to reduce workplace stress, either for yourself or employees or project team members? Please share your ideas and suggestions with others in the Comments field below.