Stress is not always a negative thing, especially if it keeps you motivated, focused, and helps you to pursue new challenges. However, in today’s workplace, excessive stress can be overwhelming when it’s not managed correctly. It’s also a tell-tale sign that you might not be coping well with particular demands in a work environment.
Stress can sometimes be inevitable in the modern workplace, but when you pinpoint the source of your stress it can help you learn how to take control of it.
What are Common Causes for Workplace Stress?
Research shows that in 2015, businesses saw a 28% increase in stress levels, with 14% reporting a decrease and 51% seeing stress levels stay the same. Although some stress at work is normal, significant amounts of stress can limit your productivity, performance, and have a negative impact on both your emotional and physical health. Being aware of your work style, and understanding what triggers negative responses can help you learn how to avoid, or positively respond to stress.
Here are a few of the most cited and evident stress factors, and some tips on how to deal with them.
When you have a heavy workload, or if you constantly find yourself needing to meet deadlines, stress can slowly kick in. Clear signs of a heavy workload can come in the form of making more errors than usual, a decline in quality of work, or generally feeling unhappy. A survey of wellness in New Zealand companies found that 60% of employees in large organisations with more than 50 staff named workload as a huge source of stress. If you’re in this group and things are becoming too much, take a deep breath, and relax. Remember, you can’t complete everything at once, so try to prioritise the most urgent tasks first.
Having the necessary support and resources from your team and colleagues can significantly help you when your workload becomes overwhelming. Is there work you need assistance with, or can you complete it independently? If you do reach the point where you’re really struggling with your work, share your concerns with your Manager or supervisor. Let them know you want to achieve the best results possible, but that you may need a bit more time to do so.
Since you spend most of your time at work, the last thing you want is to constantly feel stressed. If you dread going to work or have a poor work-life balance, speaking to a Recruiter can be a great way to find out about alternative options. Whether you’re looking for less hours, more flexibility, or something that adds less stress to your work life, a recruitment agency can offer advice and a one-on-one consultation.
Fatigue is not simply feeling tired, in a work environment it’s referred to as a state of mental or physical exhaustion. Perhaps you work longer hours, or have a schedule that interrupts with your body clock. It may not seem like a problem at first, but if you’re yawning at work or you feel like you’re about to fall asleep, you may in fact be experiencing serious fatigue. A large risk of fatigue is that it can affect your ability to work safely and efficiently. So how can you avoid fatigue? Getting an early night’s sleep, eating the right food, taking regular work breaks, and taking care of yourself are the best ways to improve your well-being, and will make you feel better at home as well as in the workplace.
If you’ve tried everything to deal with your fatigue but nothing seems to be working, it could be time to look for a new role or type of employment. For example, if you’ve been working night shifts and you think that day shifts may work better for you, it could be useful to speak to a Recruiter. Beyond Recruitment has various types of employment from temporary, contracting, to permanent roles. A Recruiter can find out your preferences such as the workload you prefer, and what hours you’re looking for. Finding out your limits and what works best for you is the best way to target work-related stress.
Maybe you work in a noisy environment, there is poor lighting or the room temperature isn’t right. Having a buzzing cell phone or colleagues who interrupt you while you work can be stressful. Even a cluttered or unorganised desk can add to stress. Although these things seem small, they can have a big impact on your stress levels.
Regardless of whether you have a large work space, or a small office, you can certainly make the space more personalised and stress-free. Get creative by adding in some of your favourite things to brighten up the area, some plants, flowers, or personal items you like can make you feel more relaxed. Renovate your office by rearranging your furniture and tidying up any clutter; or if it’s time for an upgrade, get yourself a new office chair or desk if you’re able to do so. The right items in your office can have a positive impact on your happiness, and productivity.
Concerns About Job Security
Throughout your career, you may experience uncertainty or worry about how secure you are in your job. You might have worked in a role for many years and not received a promotion, or you’re just starting out and have little experience within the industry. Either way, being concerned about your career can cause you to feel helpless. Set a time to talk with your Manager so that you can discuss your career goals, and ask how well you’re performing in your role, as this can give you the reassurance you need to move forward with confidence.
Remember, if you’re experiencing stress at work it might not be so obvious to your employer. Sit down with your employer and inform them of why you’re stressed; this can give them an idea of how they can manage your stress and whether they can do anything about it, such as providing you with work-related stress leave. Physically stepping away from the office can give you time to recover, especially if your stress is causing you to feel ill, so that you feel healthy and happy upon your return.
When dealing with workplace stress, it’s important to be realistic and know that stress can occur at any given time. Each person will experience stress differently, but being aware of your own stress triggers, and knowing how to handle them in your work routine will help your stress levels go down.
Your health and wellbeing matters. Considering how much time you spend at work, you should be in a role that you enjoy, not one where you’re constantly stressed. If you’re struggling with stress and need some assistance or if you’re looking for new opportunities and other stress-free alternatives, feel free to get in touch with our experts at Beyond Recruitment.