Where there is work, there will always be workplace stress. Some of it is situational; working in an accounting firm during the days before the April 15th tax deadline, running a cleaning service whose largest client hired them for a big, time sensitive job, or preparing your catering company for a big premiere event that evening. These are performance related stressors that actually cause positive stress called Eustress. But there are common work stressors that are negative, and they need to be dealt with.
Having too much or too little work to do
When you are facing work overload on a regular basis, you can feel overwhelmed and unable to complete anything. Surprisingly, the same is true when a worker has too little to do. Especially in this economy of job elimination, nobody wants to appear to be expendable. The solution may be as simple as letting your supervisor know and getting a better distribution of duties. If you’re in a self-managing team, ask co-workers if you can shift or share some duties. Speak up. The worst thing you can do is suffer in silence and let the problem fester. It's not about being lazy, it's about taking on the right amount of work, and being as productive as you can be.
Role ambiguities and conflicts
Role ambiguity is not knowing what is expected of you or how you will be evaluated. Role conflict is feeling unable to satisfy multiple or conflicting job expectations. Both bring on stress, and result in inefficiency. If you have a job description, read it and make sure that what you’re doing is in line with it. Reading and knowing your job description may help you define your role better and relieve stress. If it doesn’t, talk to your supervisor or HR and suggest duties that are more in line with what you are capable of. If you have a well thought out description, your company may just allow you to implement your plan. If you are a supervisor and you feel this stress, it’s time to effectively delegate some duties to your staff.
Conflict with co-workers
A sour work relationship can bring lots of stress. You can hope the offending party transfers or takes another job. Communication is the key. If you can talk it out with them, do it. If you can’t, then avoid them as much as possible while still doing your job well. Bring in a supervisor or HR if things get really bad, and avoid personal attacks—these are very unprofessional.
A bad work environment where there is too much noise, bad lighting, temperatures not conducive to doing your job and other elements create workplace stress. Make these known to the office manager or your supervisor and when these changes are made, stress could be reduced.
Other ways to cope with stress
The first key to solving workplace stress is to communicate with as much professionalism and tranquility as you can. But there are proactive measures you can take to help cope with workplace stress as well. Studies show that regular exercise reduces stress. Adopt a regular workout routine. The first two weeks may be challenging as your energy may drain. But after that period, you will feel invigorated and the endorphins released from a vigorous workout will provide physiological stress relief.
Another way to reduce stress is to get organized. Prioritizing duties and removing clutter are two steps to getting organized and reducing stress. There are a variety of Organizational Coaches you can choose from to help you manage this stress reducing step.
Stress will always be a part of the workplace; that's an unpleasant fact of life. But by communicating with those who can help change things, and taking proactive steps towards organizing and developing a personal wellness plan, stress can be greatly reduced.