Managing stress in the workplace.

Stop drop the phone, move away from your desk and take a break.

Does your lunch break consist of downing a coffee on the go and shovelling in as much food as you can whilst at your desk still working? Is your email inbox never-ending and you feel like you can never catch up? We understand that working through your dinner may be common around the workplace and that you feel guilty for taking time out of your day, when you have so much to do.

But, stop right there – you NEED a break.

In 2016/2017 alone, 26,000 workers suffered from work-related stress, resulting in 12.5 million working days being lost.  Additionally, skipping your lunch break to keep up with the workload can not only negatively impact your metabolism and nutrition, but can also lead to other health complications and reduced productivity.

It has even been proven that taking time out and taking your full break entitlements can increase productivity and help you get through those `never ending ` tasks more effectively. At the end of the day, the most important thing is your own health, if you are run down and stressed every single day this is going to take its toll on your body and mind.

Furthermore, it doesn’t end at just skipping your dinner break; we understand that employees are even guilty of carrying work stress home. Regularly completing extra work related jobs when they walk through their front door and therefore never fully switching off.

Carrying work stress home can lead to things like sleep deprivation which is associated with reduced cognitive performance. So, although you may feel like you are helping yourself by skipping breaks and continuing to work at home, this is having a negative impact and not really helping you in any way at all.

The root cause of stress is personal; whether it is work related or for other reasons, we understand that not everyone is content, calm and relaxed 24/7. Everyone may be telling you to “chill out” or “just calm down” but that’s making you worse and really isn’t that easy to do. It is ok to be stressed, in fact it’s pretty normal, but there are many affordable and easy things you can do to reduce this stress and manage it effectively

Firstly, as an employer, to help reduce the stress on your employees you could:

Ensure they have a manageable workload –

Help your employees to organise and prioritise their work in a manageable way. As a result, their tasks for the  day   may become less daunting.

breakEnsure that all employees take their full lunch break and stop working-

We don’t want to see them with one hand on the phone and another gripping a sandwich. Stop, drop everything and move away from your screen it’s called a break for a reason

Take a break from the screen

Try and create tasks for your employees related to their role that gives them a break from the computer screen.

Such as filing, printing, organising documents etc

Conduct regular performance reviews,

 There is undoubtedly a strong link between managerial communication and higher productivity levels at work. By constructing regular performance reviews with your employees can boost their mood and reduce any stress that may be linked to their performance at work.

Although sometimes you may blame your managers for the amount of stress you are under, it is not completely up to them to manage your stress and how you deal with your day-to-day business.

Here are some easy and affordable tips you could follow:

Try and be as active as you can –

We all know that exercise can help deal with stress, but we understand that being active in the office is hard. You mainly sit at your desk all day and occasionally take two or three steps to the printer. Try going for a quick walk, stepping outside on your break and instead of emailing people, walk to their office and have a conversation with them.

Connect with people –

A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way. By gaining advice from other people, you may just find the solution you need. The worst thing you can do is feel alone and bottle everything up, as this can be one of the main catalysts for stress in the workplace.

Have some `me time` 

The UK alone work the longest hours in Europe, meaning we don’t often spend enough time doing things we really enjoy. Make a change, make sure you try and make room for a bit of `me time`, whether this is socialising, relaxing, enjoying a hobby or doing some exercise. This can take your mind of work-related tasks that may be causing you stress and can help you return to these tasks when needed with a calmer approach.

Be selfish –

Although this may be odd to promote selfishness, we think it is important to be selfish with your time every now and again. If you are spending your time completing tasks that aren’t associated to your role, then this is only going to lead to more stress and work for you. Think what I need to do today and put that first!

Use a planner/to-do list that can guide you through the day-

Plan your week ahead of each day so you know what you have to deal with when it comes to it. Throughout the day, simply ticking off the tasks you have completed can not only give you some satisfaction but help you become more organised. Finally, make sure your tasks are realistic and achievable for you within the time limits you have been given.

Try and remember there is a solution to any problem –

It may be hard to calm down sometimes, when everything gets on top of you, but remaining passive and thinking “I can’t do this” is only going to make things worse. Take your tasks one step at a time, try and have regular breaks and stay focused on the end goal.

Try and get a good night’s sleep –

Do you regularly lie in bed counting sheep? Thinking “I need to do this tomorrow”? We understand that it is hard to switch off and many of us struggle with this. It is crucial to give your mind some time out and concentrate on getting a good night’s sleep as this really can reduce stress and help you return to work the next day refreshed.

Don’t see failure as failing –

Stress can come through negative thoughts and the feeling of failure impacting confidence and Take a step back and look at what happened with a positive mindset, maybe this time you made some choices that didn’t work out, at least now you know what to do next time. Failure is a choice, challenge your mindset, push yourself and look at the positive outcome instead of focusing on the negatives. Just remember you have not failed until you quit trying!

Finally, on that note I am going to take my own advice, clear my thoughts, enjoy a cocktail or two and escape to Greece (literally!).