Research shows that 80% of all Americans hate their jobs and are stress about it. Others argue that this percentage is in reality as little as 4%. Such big fluctuations may be caused by differences in methodology or subjectivity of the issue regarding stress sources at work. Different people understand different things when they say they hate their job.
Regardless, stress at work is a sure thing whether you hate your job or not. Challenges of the job, pressure to perform and rising expectation, all pile up and affect our health.
Moreover, stress impacts our relationship with other people and reduces our work efficiency, adding even more stress. So it’s important to learn how to cope with pressure.
I. Identifying main stress sources
In order to reduce work induced stress, we must first identify what is causing it. There are 6 main types of factors causing stress in our workplace:
1. The Nature of Your Work
Exhaustion can occur from too much work, long shifts and infrequent breaks. Constant routine tasks or feeling that you have little meaning or a line of work which you consider unethical can really make you hate your job.
2. Career Concerns
Fear of layoffs, job insecurity, no promotion opportunities, they all add stress in your life.
3. Poor Management
Lack of communication, poor decision making, managers being unable to create a friendly and productive atmosphere in the workplace or to motivate the employees, they are all major stress sources for everyone involved.
4. Dealing with People
Sometimes a job requires you to deal with all kinds of people. For example, an account assistant in an advertising agency acts as a mediator between the clients and the different departments of the agency itself. They need to make sure that clients needs are satisfied, while also dealing with the creative and production department and constantly reporting to the management and strategic department. Such jobs involve a lot of stress because you have to make sure that everyone gets what they want.
Lack of support from co-workers or supervisors can be a significant stress source. Sometimes colleagues are exactly the opposite of “support”, making you life a real heal at work. In such an environment it will be very hard to stay focus and healthy on the long run.
The physical conditions of your work environment can also be a major stress factor. Pollution, noise, too little space, even a poorly positioned air conditioner can influence your stress level and health.
II. How to reduce stress sources at work
Both managers and employees should work on reducing stress at the workplace. A pleasant and productive atmosphere is good for both sides. Here is what you can do to reduce stress at work:
1. Organize Yourself
Prioritize your tasks. Start with the most important ones and leave the other ones to wait. Bear in mind that you are most productive in the morning, so try to schedule all your important tasks in the first part of the day. Leave the easier ones for the last hours of work, when you are tired and only think of getting home faster.
2. Don’t do Everything Yourself
Because you don’t have to! Whether it’s at work or at home. Don’t be a control freak and let others take care of some things if they can. Just remember, is not a crime to delegate some tasks.
3. Talk with Someone
Talking with someone close to you about your problems can be a real stress reliever.
4. Make Allies at Work
Having someone willing to support you and assist you in a time of need at work can really help you avoid stress inducing situations. Make sure you also give them support when they need it.
5. Take a Break
Get away for a moment. Take a walk in the park, listen to some music or just simply go to a quiet place and eliminate all your thoughts from your mind. Even drinking a cup of tea or water in a quiet corner can be very refreshing.
Exercising will help you to stay fit, but it will also help to reduce stress and lift your mood. You will feel great, will have the feeling that you accomplished something good for yourself and will clear your mind of stressful thoughts.
7. Better Sleep
Stress can cause insomnia and insomnia can cause stress. If you are stressed at work, you won’t be able to sleep well at night. When you are tired at work, you won’t be able to concentrate and focus,thus increasing stress. It’s an endless loop! But seriously though, when you are well rested, it gets easier to maintain your emotional balance.
8. Avoid Bad Eating Habits
You know what they say: “You are what you eat!”. Remember that the only way of getting out of a stressful situation is with a clear mind,so try to avoid nicotine, alcohol and extra caffeine. Eat small but frequent meals in order to keep your blood sugar level stable.
III. What managers can do to reduce stress sources at the work environment
1. Improving Communication
Share information with your subordinates in order to reduce their uncertainty and anxiety. Provide a clear definition of their responsibilities in the overall structure of the organization. Evaluate them as frequent as possible and present both strengths and weakness of employees in a transparent and friendly manner. Remember, if you are a good manager, you will never need to shout at your employees.
2. Involving Subordinates
Value individual workers, avoid unrealistic deadlines and make sure they are capable for their assigned tasks. Give them the opportunity to involve themselves in decisions affecting their work and consult them in matters such as schedule and methods.
Motivating your subordinates is an important task as a manager. Positive motivation is always better than punishments and inducing fear into your workers. Praising a good work, providing them with flexibility and opportunities for development will keep your employees satisfied and proactive. Remember, the best resource a company can have is its dedicated employees.
4. Creating a Social and Friendly Atmosphere
Respect the organizational values of the company, conduct training, team-building programs or other activities promoting social interaction among employees.