If you are a career-oriented person, it is likely that most of your stress comes from work. Enjoying your work doesn’t necessarily mean you are free from all the dangers of exhaustion. Elements like dealing with other people, doing paperwork or filing taxes all fall under work related stress. And work stress can lead to chronic illnesses and burnout if it goes out of control. Aside from the physical and mental damage that these things cause, stress can also stop you from fulfilling your plans and achieving your goals. Ultimately, work related stress is a present problem in any workplace and it not only affects the health and well-being of employees, but also the overall productivity of their organizations.
That being said, it is important that we know what the top causes of stress are so we can react accordingly and be able to manage and tone down the stress that we get from work.
Here are the most common sources of stress at your workplace and the best ways to overcome them.
Everybody is expected to perform at a certain level in the workplace. While workers are doing their best to keep up with the demanding pace, they often feel that they are under constant pressure to meet increasing performance expectations. This relentless requirement for improved results has become one of the biggest causes of stress in the workplace. The competition now to be on top is greater than ever. Information and communication technologies, global competition and pressure from investors have combined to create a tense, competitive work environment and escalating expectations.
This source of stress can be the greatest because no one is spared from it and even owners suffer from the heavy pressure of keeping their company in business. Managers are especially vulnerable to burnout, an extreme consequence of working without reprieve under high stress for an extended time.
One thing that you can do if you’re suffering from this form of stress is to simply take a deep breath. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or are coming out of a tense meeting and need to clear your head, a few minutes of deep breathing will restore balance. Slowly inhale for 5 seconds, hold and exhale through your nostrils in equal counts. It gives you a moment of calmness and relaxation, providing you that extra energy and motivation to get you through another busy day.
Your work is not engaging enough
Your work is not challenging for your brain. You’ve got all the credentials to work on something big, maybe you have a master’s degree, maybe even a PhD but the work you’re doing right now under-represents you and your abilities, making you overqualified for your work.
One way to combat this is to ask for more challenging tasks. By doing this, you give yourself the opportunity to showcase your skills that could later lead to promotion and better responsibilities.
You work is repetitive
We might love repetitive work for a certain amount of time but after a while, it does get boring. This is mostly felt in the customer service industry where workers have to engage with demanding and irate customers everyday. Answering e-mails all day, signing paperwork and working with numbers can also lead to this form of stress. Many question themselves whether such repetition is what all those years of studying is worth and to simply answer it, of course not!
Review your options, find other jobs that would suit you and your skills better. Maybe you’re working for this company just because it’s the only one you can get into at the moment, but there are always opportunities available for you to find better work.
Office politics and mistrust
Talk about a situation that tends to get everyone on the edge about the future! Office politics and mistrust have a tendency to lead to a lot verbal fights and quarrels around the workplace. The management of trust and fairness is just as important as any other management tool. If the employees cannot trust the management, the overall performance goes down. And everyone is affected even if one employee is treated unfairly. Factions might form inside the workplace and people would begin taking sides. This promotes to an unhealthy working environment where communication between workmates goes down. Without communication, how are you suppose to get things done? Unfairness can also be seen in the management’s acceptance of those who drive the office politics. A boss may actually be into it as well and this is where office bullying and discrediting come into place.
The solution is to make sure that everyone is treated fairly. Keep in mind that word spreads quickly, and everyone sympathizes with the “victim,” as they see it. They feel they will be treated the same way. Another thing that you can do to solve this form of stress is to not reward office politics in any way, shape or form. Verbally reprimand those who are negative towards others and have a meeting with those who are known to spread rumors. If you are the employee, you need to be open to your boss or manager and tell them what’s really happening in and around the workplace especially when rumors are being spread or when factions are being formed. Stopping office politics dead in its tracks while it is early can save a lot of heartache between workmates and possible resignations as well.
Lack of control and communication
Poor communication from anywhere in the chain of command leads to decreased performance and increased stress. Workers are also stressed when they feel like they have no control over their participation or the outcome of their work. They feel that their opinion and suggestions aren’t being valued and might lead them not to participate in other discussions as well.
A solution would be to know the value of an employee’s suggestion, inputs and comments about the business by letting them participate. This form of stress control is the responsibility of the leaders. Have a suggestion meeting where everybody can voice their opinion about how things are doing and what needs to get better. Acknowledge each of their suggestions and give them feedback. This will let them feel that they are truly valued and that their opinions truly matter to the company.