According to a recent LinkedIn survey, 49% of workers feel stressed in their jobs meaning there’s a lot of people who could use a helping hand in knowing how to reduce stress at work. It may sound like a difficult task, but there are several ways to cut down on your worries and we’ve got them here!
Learn how to say no
It’s good to show your dedication sometimes at work by offering to stay a little later to help someone out or take on an extra project, but one of the biggest causes of stress is not having a good work/life balance. If you feel like you’re living to work rather than working to live, learn the importance of saying ‘I’m afraid I can’t do that, I’ve got X on this evening’ or ‘I’d love to help but I can’t take on that task at the moment while I’m still doing X.’
Time on your side
Everyone has days that are busier than others, but feeling like you never have time to think straight isn’t right. According to a survey published in The Independent, the average UK employee spends around 13 days a year in ‘unproductive’ meetings, so it’s important to block the rest of your workday, especially if meetings are frequent in your role.
Every day, look at what you’ve got to accomplish and if you have anything like meetings or networking events to factor in. Try and allocate a specific hour or two and block this out as your productivity time. Physically marking this in a diary or calendar is useful and it helps you take it seriously and keeps you focussed, and if someone asks you to do something during this time, ask them if it can wait as you are busy at that moment. Shut your office door, put headphones in or work in a quieter space during this time so you can properly focus and get stuff done.
Comfort is key
This may not be something you’ve considered, but being comfortable is one of the keys ways how to reduce stress at work. Making sure you’re not roasting alive or freezing cold will help you to focus, while putting headphones in to block out noisy desk neighbours can help you get in the right mind-set. It’s also very important that you’re not staring excessively at a screen without breaks, sitting in an uncomfortable chair that doesn’t properly support you and you have support for your wrists while typing.
There are legal workplace health and safety requirements in place, with specific regulations relating to working at a desk and using screens, so check these out and talk to your employer if you feel your conditions aren’t up to scratch or you need a more supportive chair, wrist support or footrest if you need it.
Choose your fights wisely
We’ve all experienced the annoyance of a colleague that gossips a bit too much, someone that doesn’t contribute ideas often or is super competitive, but you should pick your fights wisely. It’s not worth getting stressed over largely insignificant things, and conflicts with colleagues can linger longer after they’re over which can lead to resentment. Avoid getting involved in gossip as this can come back to bite you and makes you seem untrustworthy, don’t get into a game of one-upmanship with a colleague, just focus on your own work and if you think a colleague could do more, go about this politely.
If you’re involved in a group task with them you can work your away around the group saying how you’d love to hear everyone’s opinions and ideas, or if you’re a manager and they remain silent in meetings, you could try asking them what they think. It might be that they don’t like directly voicing their opinions but still quietly contribute in which case you’ll know for future, or they might just need a bit of encouragement and to feel valued.
To err is human
…but to forgive is divine. The sooner you accept that everyone is flawed in some way the better. This may sound harsh, but by remembering that everyone is human and not without faults, the easier it will be to keep calm when someone drives you mad. You may love your boss and think they’re the best thing since sliced bread, but you can’t hold people to impossible standards and doing so will only lead to disappointment.
It may be that they forgot about that extra holiday day they promised you, are a bit snappy at work one day or give you a particularly heavy workload one week. Whatever the reason, it’s probably not a personal attack and it will pass. If they made any promises you can mention this at a more convenient time without being confrontational and if they give you more to do than usual try to manage it effectively without getting burned out and give them a fair indication that it may take slightly longer than normal to work through.
The final tip on how to reduce stress at work is to not let it interfere with your life outside it. As much as you can, treat it that when you leave the office, your stresses and problems at work stay there and can be dealt with tomorrow. Worrying about an issue at the dinner table or when you’re trying to sleep will ruin you evening and make you feel even worse about it by the time you next reach your desk. We’ve got plenty of tips and tricks about switching off when you leave work in our article dedicated to just that.
If you’ve tried our tips but work still gets you down, don’t stay in a job you hate, come and see what our terrific team can do for you!