Techniques for Managing Workplace Stress

Best Practices, Workplace

Workplace stress is a growing problem in our culture and is something people are having to face every day. 80% of workers feel stress on the job, and nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress.

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Managers, and employees alike, who feel stressed are able to be more quickly agitated and unreasonable. This problem is an impediment to productive management and employees. So how do you manage your workplace stress? We give some tips here:

Allowing Yourself to be Stressed

Stress is an omnipresent part of life. Everyone will at some time in their life become stressed. Pushing stress to the side and acting like it isn’t there doesn’t get rid of it. It’s important to come to the realization that workplace stress is all too common and in order to minimize it, you must first allow yourself to recognize it’s there. This is a tactic that Mike Smith, Incubator Operation Manager at Talent Tech Labs, uses when he gets overwhelmed:

One of the first things I’ve started doing is giving myself the permission to be stressed. It sounds silly but I find it to be tremendously important. A few years ago I didn’t get a job I was DREAMING of and it crushed me. So I created this “24-hour pity party” rule meaning I give myself a day to be upset or stressed about it and then immediately after that period is over I get back to work.”

Mike’s 24-hour pity party rule is a great rule to follow. It’s important to make sure you aren’t stressing out about one thing for too long. The fact is, many things that we stress out about at work are not as big of a deal as we think they are. Make sure you are being reasonable, then have your pity party.

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Try to Look at the Facts

It’s tough, but try not to allow your emotions to take charge in a stressful situation. Likely, if your emotions are involved things will just get messier. In a study done by the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA), almost half of respondents said that stress interferes with their relationships with people at work, mainly causing them to avoid social situations (73%), become short-tempered (53%), and avoid participating in meetings (43%).

Allowing your emotions to take over affects your performance and ability to work at your highest level. To keep this from happening, try to look at the cold hard facts, like Marc Jergovic, Nursing Team Lead at Triage Staffing:

As a Team Leader, I have to help my teammates de-escalate situations. I usually ask that the Recruiter/Client Manager take the emotion out of what the employee or hospital may be saying and stick to facts. A lot of stress breeds from interpretation of facts, versus the facts themselves. If you can get it down to the black and white facts, then you are able to address each particular point. It’s not to say that emotion or feeling don’t have their part, but if you are concentrating on your interpretation of the fact, you will turn a molehill into a mountain, and it makes it much harder to evaluate and work on.”

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Take Time to Exercise

Yes, people say it all of the time, but for a good reason! Only 14% of adults report using exercise as a way to reduce stress. The ADAA website reads:

Studies show that it (exercise) is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate.

Even 5 minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate effects that reduce stress! So what are you waiting for? Get out there and clear your mind. When we asked Liz Bardetti, Managing Director of CyberGrants, how she deals with stress, she had no hesitation:

Go to strategy for managing stress? No question, it’s exercise!”

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We all know it’s easier said than done, but the only way you can make progress in managing stress is allowing yourself to be stressed, then taking action! Workplace stress is a big problem and affect performance, employee happiness and loses your company money. Make these few changes and you will be well on your way to keeping that stress at a minimum!

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