Stress in workplace settings is all too common. Long hours, high expectations and low salaries can make the work atmosphere a challenging and tense environment. If workers aren’t engaged in their jobs, have an unsupportive management team or are frustrated with their career path, these everyday pressures can be made much worse. Leaving all of that stress at the office is no easy feat—and, when it’s combined with the regular challenges of family life—it can be a recipe for problems.
So how can employees manage stress in workplace settings and beyond? There are a number of proactive solutions, all of which involved thinking ahead, being upfront about your feelings and being open with both your work and home support systems. Here are a few suggestions:
Set Some Boundaries
With cell phones in our pockets nearly around the clock, it can be hard to disconnect from work—but that may be just what you need. While the work/life balance will likely never be fully equal, setting boundaries between the two can help level the playing field. When you’re at work, make sure your family knows to only contact you in an emergency. And when you’re at home, shut off the work phone, avoid checking emails and give yourself some serious time to unplug from work and reconnect to your loved ones.
Hiding mounting pressure or trouble with your workload from your supervisors can make those challenges even worse. Be open with supervisors about stress in the workplace, so they can help you devise a plan to stay on track and have a more productive, satisfying work experience.
Ask for Help
Supervisors can be a source of support, but they’re not the only resource. Many organizations offer an employee assistance program, which can often connect workers with counseling, stress management, career coaches and more. Employee resource groups, including those for workers of different demographics and with varying life experiences, can also be a good outlet for employees to connect with co-workers to share stories and build community.
Find Healthy Strategies
Stress in the workplace can have significant physical, mental and emotional effects on employees—which is why they need to take proactive steps to counter those risks. For instance, exercising, practicing a healthy diet and investing time in hobbies can all help employees feel more centered and focused. You can also strategically target specific triggers of stress; for instance, take a walk mid-morning every day if you tend to start feeling overwhelmed at that time, or make a to-do list at the beginning of the week and give yourself a small reward when it’s all accomplished.
Staying ahead of stress in the workplace can help you remain focused and giving your all to both your work and your home life.