According to a 2013 study, 83 percent of Americans are stressed out by their jobs, which is a 10 percent jump from the previous year. Workplace stress can stem from numerous factors including a workload that is unattainable, co-workers, managers, unbalanced work-life schedules, and modern technology that doesn’t leave much room for employees to disconnect and leave work behind. Stress is considered one of the most overlooked workplace safety hazards.
A recent survey by The Creative Group, a pubic relations firm in California, proved that seven in 10 executives interviewed said their job is somewhat or very stressful. However, the up side is that nearly one-third of respondents claimed the more work stress they experience, the better their performance; another 60 percent reported they thrive under some pressure. The Creative Group recommends the following tips for managers and employees:
Managers can help foster a healthy level of work stress by:
• Setting clear expectations. Miscommunication and misinterpretation about responsibilities frequently leads to frustration, inefficiency and unnecessary stress. Make sure employees understand their roles at the outset of a project, and establish reasonable deadlines.
• Making time for fun. Keep the mood around the office from becoming too serious. Once a project wraps up, organize a team celebration, such as a group lunch, to build camaraderie.
Employees can take steps to reduce work stress by:
• Identifying priorities. As new work is assigned, clarify expectations and requirements with your manager.
• Taking things step by step. Break large projects into smaller activities. You’ll feel less overwhelmed if you develop a game plan and focus on one manageable piece at a time.
• Asking for help. If you need help, let your manager know, and ask for his or her assistance reprioritizing your responsibilities. You might also suggest bringing in a temporary professional to assist with special projects or alleviate your department’s workload.
According to Dr. Nikki Martinez, a licensed clinical professional counselor and psychologist, she recommends managing stress on the front end through a variety of ways such as taking your entitled breaks away from your desk, letting your boss know when your plate is too full, and developing organizational systems and check-lists that give you snapshots of meetings, due dates, and timelines. This will help keep the big picture in perspective, but also allow you to break things down into more small and manageable steps.
Everyone experiences workplace stress at some point. If you are feeling stressed, talk to your manager, try some deep breathing exercises and continue your regular exercise regimen.