Are you experiencing workplace stress? You are not alone. A heavy workload, interpersonal issues, and concerns about layoffs all cause workplace stress. Stress impacts us negatively and can even affect our personal relationships outside of the workplace. Stress.org found that 63% of US workers are ready to quit their job to avoid work-related stress. How can you manage workplace stress?
Career Coaching Strategies for a Balanced Life
We understand how upsetting stress can be and want to help you manage it effectively. Here are some helpful strategies that we share with our clients. We hope these strategies are helpful to you.
Set boundaries. If your workload is your main source of stress, we recommend setting boundaries inside and outside of work. For example, determine how available you will be outside of your scheduled work hours and then stick to that boundary. During your scheduled work hours, respect your break times as much as possible to disconnect from work for a few moments. Take a walk outside if possible. You can also set boundaries as to what type of work you will do at certain times of the day. For example, if there are certain tasks that make you feel more stressed than others, try to schedule those tasks during the time of day where you feel most alert and energized.
You can also use technology to help you, such as pausing your email inbox at certain times of the day and using focus settings on your computer and/or phone. To get started, track your time at work over the next few days. What tasks or activities make you feel more stressed vs. less stressed? What time of the day or week do you feel more empowered to take on more difficult tasks? If needed, speak with your boss about making adjustments to your workload schedule.
Improve your conflict competence. To reduce stress that stems from interpersonal conflict at work, we recommend creating an agreement with your team or co-workers that outlines how you will work together. This includes basic guidelines for communication, tasks, as well as how to handle conflict, disagreements, and feedback. For example, what communication methods will you use – email, phone, or both? A clear agreement establishes clear boundaries and safe space, leading to improved relationships in the workplace.
Asking for permission to share something, especially if it’s a touchy subject, with the other person can go a long way to reducing conflict. Then, use open-ended questions to allow the other person to vent, explain, and identify a solution. Some examples of open-ended questions are: How can we improve our professional relationship? What’s the best way to accomplish this goal without conflict?
Make a career change. If neither of the above options help you to manage your workplace stress, it may indicate that you need a career change. Sometimes a smaller change, such as the same position in a different company with a different work environment, is enough to reduce stress. Other times, a new career path altogether is needed due to not being in the right career fit. Work with a mentor or a career coach to help you determine what your next steps should be.
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