There are several surveys being conducted by different companies to determine the statistics regarding workplace stress in their environment. It is quite accurate to say that close to 60% of the workers, in any sample, have expressed that they find difficulties with stress in the workplace. Many have expressed their desire to learn ways of dealing with this stress in day to day life. Workplace stress seems to have increased in the recent times due to the changing corporate atmosphere. The work hours have increased, expectations and standards have been set high due to global competition, the economy is fluctuating and job insecurity is on the rise. There is not much you can do to control the circumstances – life is a flux and change will happen. What you can control is your reaction to changing circumstances and pressures. Your attitude is the only aspect under your sphere of influence.
Here are few practical tips for handling stress in the workplace.
1.) Prioritizing and organizing work – time management is the key to a stress free work life. You will be surprised at the number of hours wasted in idle talk, gossip and unnecessary breaks. In some offices most workers have been found to work only 3 hours out of their allotted 8 hour working day. It is best to avoid personal distraction while you sit at your work station – don’t check personal mails, close all the chatting software, avoid personal calls and frequent breaks. Concentrate on your work alone while in the office and you will be amazed at how quickly you can finish off the most tedious projects. Don’t stay extra hours in the office, wrap up your work and head home for some personal leisure and enjoyment. This way you will stay fresh for the next day of work.
2.) Recognizing and coming out of fear of performance or perfectionism – this is easier said than done in most cases. Some people become their own worst critics and they unconsciously strive for some ideal perfectionism not knowing that it is stressing them out completely. Try to give your complete attention to the work and do it to the best of your ability without any expectations from the result – don’t expect any praise or acknowledgement from your superior for every work you do. Don’t be overly critical about your work unless there is a strong reason to do so. Stop worrying about achieving perfection and concentrate on doing the best you can in the given time. Remember that work is just a small part of your life.
3.) Learning to take mini breaks – According to studies, it is useful to take a 5 minute break after every one hour of work. Use this time to stretch a bit, take a few deep breaths and have a drink from the cooler. This technique is turning out to be a popular mantra for dealing with workplace stress. You will feel refreshed enough to pursue another hour of work without feeling fatigued. Mini breaks work a lot better than long breaks as you don’t lose your sense of focus and concentration. Stick to an 8 hour work day with 1 hour break for lunch.
4.) Listening to soft music while working – This technique may not be suitable for certain jobs but works well in most other cases. It is best to listen to music without lyrics and at a low volume (use ear plugs). Don’t get engrossed in the music to the extent of losing focus on your work, but just let it play in the background. The music will cut off the background noise in your office and help you feel more focused. Several software programmers use this technique to focus for long hours and this helps them deal with work place stress.
5.) Learning to say “No” – You don’t have to be the punch bag or the pushover. If you feel that you are being over burdened with work, just say no to further projects till you finish off your allotted job. If you feel you are being overloaded with work, have a talk with your manager and convey your point of view. There is nothing more stressful than to work at something with a lot of resentment inside. Don’t be too meek around the workplace or you will be taken advantage of. You need to stand your ground and protect your interests whenever needed.