02 August 2016

HR - Managing Workplace Stress

Everyone experiences stress at work at some point in their lives.

Today, stress seems to be one of the major issues plaguing society. Restructuring, downsizing, multiple projects, economic uncertainty, interruptions and demands all contribute to one’s anxiety.

A study by the American Psychological Association (APA), found that the two most common stressors among those surveyed were work and money, and the incidence of stress often results in irritability, anger, nervousness, and anxiousness

Many workers in the animal industry suffer from compassion fatigue which adds to general workplace stress.

So, what can you do about it? How can you manage work stress and not take it home with you?

While it may seem overwhelming, there are plenty of resources and ideas to help manage your stress.

A recent Harvard Business Review posting provided advice on leaving work stress at work.

Confine your work to particular times and locations.
Perhaps a challenge in today’s connected environment, it’s important to leave your work at the office. Keep folders, computers and notebooks as your desk and work from home only in exceptional circumstances.

If that’s not feasible, designate a few hours each day for home-life only - no exceptions.

Develop good mobile device habits.
An increasing amount of time is spent using mobile devices, and doing something as simple as checking email can pull you back into workplace stress.

Develop habits and rules that keep tablets and phones from tethering you to work, i.e. never check your email two hours before sleep and leave your cell phone home or in the hotel safe when you’re on holidays.

Establish a good support network.
Develop a support network of friends and mentors who can help you manage your professional stress and ensure it isn’t the burden solely of your significant other.

Forbes Magazine’s 12 Ways to Eliminate Stress at Work suggests you:
  • Eliminate interruptions
  • Schedule your day for energy and focus
  • Change your subjective interpretation of the facts
  • Prioritize your priorities
  • Cool down quickly
  • Act rather than react
  • Take a deep breath.

Self care such as exercise, eating properly and sleeping well can all contribute to lowering stress. It’s common to reach for the sugary foods and alcohol when feeling anxious.

When managing tasks, prioritize them, break projects into smaller steps so they aren’t as overwhelming, delegate responsibility and be willing to compromise.

Stress within your comfort levels can help you stay focused and able to meet new workplace challenges.

But when stress becomes overwhelming and negatively impacts your life, it’s time to take some - or all - of the above steps.

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