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Workplace stress and how to manage it

16 March, 2015

Work stress comes in many different forms and we all react differently.

Some of us are lucky to work in an environment where we thrive and get a buzz every morning at the thought of another great day ahead.

Others don’t feel like that at all. The morning alarm fills them with dread as they drag themselves out of bed.

Feeling like this every day is harmful to the body, physically and mentally.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), occupational or work-related stress is the response people may have when presented with work demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope.

If you have suffered from work-related stress then you would know how hard it can be to overcome.

Worksafe Queensland advises that when stressful situations go unresolved, the body is kept in a constant state of stimulation, which can result in physiological and/or psychological illness.

Stress and Health Effects

Common health outcomes linked to stress include:

Identifying the causes and signs of stress overload will improve your wellbeing.

Let’s take a look at the most common types of work-related stress situations and what we can do to alleviate it.

Overworked and Undervalued

Scenario

You’re busy from the time you enter the building until the time you leave.
You are the office go-to person, constantly ‘fighting fires’ and being reactive instead of proactive.

Solution

Firstly, look after yourself and take your lunch break.

Scientifically there are three good reasons why taking a lunch break is important. 

  1. Restore Physiological Resources
  2. Improve Physical Health
  3. Decrease Fatigue

You can read more about these benefits and ways to increase your productivity here.

Secondly, learn to say NO, nicely.

Say no to people making demands on your time that are not within your remit. Delegate. Push back. Refer to someone else.  Try it today and see how a courteous deflection can lessen your workload.

Complaint Toxicity

Scenario

You’re the front line of the business. You might be customer service, client support, or part of the sales team. You deal with frustrated callers, face-to-face issues and general fallouts in the business.

Listening to complaints all day can drain your happiness, motivation, creativity and fun.

Solution

Don’t take it personally!  As the face of the company you will bear the brunt of people’s frustrations. Try to remain in control of the situation. Keep your cool and be as helpful as possible in finding a resolution.

After the event, try to see the lighter side of it. Let it go and move on.

Frustrated Overachiever

Scenario

You spend so much time trying to impress your manager or colleagues yet your efforts go unnoticed.

Solution

The last thing you want to do is highlight your accomplishments and sound like a jerk. As this article highlights, some of the best ways to get your boss to take notice is to:

  • Track your successes
  • Add your accomplishments to the meeting agenda
  • Volunteer your expertise.

Technology Connectivity

Scenario

Are you available to your boss 24/7?

If you’re on Email, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat then you sound like a highly connected technology warrior.

Solution

Set boundaries.

Make it clear you won’t be checking emails or responding to work via social media channels after a certain time.

Or you could just simply unplug when you’re not in the office!

Workplace Bully

Scenario

Unfortunately bullying is not always confined to adolescent undertakings in the playground.

If there is someone in the office who makes you feel anxious or incompetent then that is going to add to your stress level.

It might be the office gossip, the favourite, the ideas-stealer, or even your boss. Whoever they are, it’s best to meet them head on.

Solution

In an office environment you would like to think that you can sort these things out maturely. But if you are unable to push back, or are hesitant about approaching this person then consult your HR department.

They are trained in conflict resolution and will help your address the situation.

Bullying can destroy your health so if you do feel bullied in the workplace seek help.

Workplace Stress and Wellbeing

The Stress and Wellbeing in Australia Survey 2014 identified that two in five working people (44%) identify work as a source of stress.

Work was also implicated in health outcomes, with nearly half Australians (48%) citing ‘work demands’ as a barrier to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

There are some great tips in one of our previous blog posts Creating a healthy office environment that you can easily build into your work life. 

How do you manage work-related stress?

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