This year, “Workplace Stress: a collective challenge” is the theme for the World Day for Safety and Health at work campaign.

Work related stress affects workers in all professions, in all countries.  Bearing in mind we spend more than 50% of our waking life in the workplace this is quite significant.

What are the main causes of work related stress ?

There are the more well known factors of high work loads and the feeling of not being able to meet deadlines, not being able to deliver targets and generally feeling over worked and out of control.  Other factors  however include the stress caused through work relationships.  Not just the “demanding” boss, but the  poor relationships caused with colleagues.  People who feel isolated at work, feel unsupported and not “part of team” probably suffer just as equally inwardly that the “stressed out” employee running around.

Deeper stress facts tend to focus around job security. The threat of redundancy and the fear or concern  around job changes, management re-structuring and the like.  Pay is often a significant factor.  Not getting paid as much as other employees – who you see yourself as equal to causes resentment, and causes the individual to feel undervalued, unappreciated and unworthy in terms of what they deliver.

So what can we do to reduce stress in the work place ?

As Managers you should aim to spot the signs of stress before they escalate and become something bigger and unhealthier.

As individuals however we need to learn to speak out.  If you feel you are not coping speak to someone and let them know.  Learn to look after yourself.  Have a  better work – life balance.   Take things one step at a time. Focus on exercise and  getting moving.  Sitting at a desk all day long with mere comfort breaks is not good.  Take that lunch break !  Get out and have a walk – even if it is just 20 minutes it will make you feel better.  Eat healthily. Surround yourself with fruit.  Eating small amounts regularly is better for you.  It helps you maintain a level blood sugar level and keeps you focused and your mood up.  Finally, get enough sleep.  If you are tired and fatigued due to insufficient sleep you are more likely to be prone to stress.

How you actually perform at work can also help reduce stress.   Plan your work.  Prioritize tasks.  Have a diary system and actually use it.  If a job is large and complex – break it down into smaller parts. Completing small parts at a time.  Delegate.  If someone around you is willing to help – make use of them !  Do not feel that asking for help shows  weakness or failure.

Finally, learn to laugh.  There is nothing like humour to keep spirits lifted.

This page © Copyright 2016, Vashti Norman Solicitor, Mediator and Notary Public.