As a common water cooler topic or a conversation starter between friends, managing workplace stress is a problem for almost everyone.
But can talking about stress at work help you deal with it?
Yes, to release some of the burdens and ease down the symptoms. No, if you want to cut to the core of the problem and eliminate the stressors.
Workplace stressors can pile up to a mountain for leaders because they often carry the pressure on behalf of the whole team. Lack of time is one of them – there is rarely enough of it. The inability to grow your business is another, perhaps the most important one.
The five strategies for dealing with stress at work below can help you set an example for your team and build your business virtually.
What is a Safe Work Environment
A workplace must have a healthy work environment to create healthy stress. A safe work environment takes care of the employee’s well-being and growth and promotes healthy shared values of support, encouragement, respect, and compassion for everyone.
There are three types of work environments: social, physical, and technological (digital).
The social work environment consists of people interactions. If you want to make your social work environment less stressful, implementing a non-toxic cultural and value framework for your business is the first step. So, choose your values and lead by example to help people who onboard find out that they have joined a safe and transparent workplace.
If you work in a traditional office, a safe workplace without too many stressors includes meeting occupational health and safety standards. Even if you don’t work in a physical shared space, you can support your team in creating safe, stress-free home work environments with minimal stressors by removing distractions and boosting focus.
Digital tools and technology enable the building of a safe environment through file sharing, collaboration, goal tracking, and transparent communication. Managing stress in a workplace that is virtual requires creating clear workflows and processes. Such a system provides a structure that eliminates anxiety, stress, and confusion.
Strategies for Managing Stress in the Workplace
Most workplace stress arises because of the resource vs. goals problem. You don’t have enough resources to reach your goals within the time at your disposal.
Business passion can come in the way, driving you to push harder than possible and set unrealistic goals. While some stress is healthy and will take you beyond where you now stand. A lot of it is unproductive. So here are your five practical ways of managing stress at work you can apply immediately:
1. Track stressors.
Self-awareness is a crucial leadership skill. You cannot improve today if you cannot understand what went wrong yesterday.
Write a work journal or, even better, use our key activity mapping framework for goal-setting and prioritizing with surgical precision. Create a task schedule using a calendar app and add numbers for each activity, numerating them with 1 for the least stressful up to 5 for to most stressful ones.
This schedule is a double whammy, as the same framework eliminates a lot of the noise in your head that creates conflict between resources and goals and takes you toward a more realistic but exciting goal-setting mindset.
Keep in mind to assign push time and relax time in your schedule to recharge and come back refueled to grab your goals.
2. Set boundaries.
In terms of workplace stress management, setting boundaries means having a clear structure of your day, week, and month within the time you have.
You can adapt the structure for your team, but you need to lead by example. Design and follow a schedule. Don’t dodge it; let your employees when and how you are available, and explain when and how they can reach you. This system doesn’t mean you are unavailable – it only means you respect your time. Remember to follow through with your availability. Failing to keep your promises diminishes trust and is among the workplace stressors.
This work stress management tip reduces the chances of role ambiguity, excessive workload, and lack of autonomy and control over one’s work.
3. Communicate with your team.
Poor communication can ruin the most effective strategies for managing stress in the workplace. Even an overpaid HR consultant can help you if you don’t communicate your schedule and your boundaries. Any change or innovation in the business model needs to be communicated.
Give time to digest the novelty. Ensure your team knows how to communicate back.
Good communication guarantees you won’t have to deal with demand conflicts later because everyone knows where they stand.
4. Provide a space for learning.
You need a space to grow your business. Your team needs room to develop their skills and help you do exactly that. You can’t expect to build more of what goes well if you remain stuck at one point. Learning and development create healthy stress.
However, this doesn’t mean you need to hire complete newbies for every job. Many simple, repetitive tasks can be automated. You have much better chances to expand your business if you hire experts. People who are experts in a specific skill show the potential to learn and grow. Therefore, you are better equipped at the start.
5. Ask and give support.
Finally, respecting your own and other people’s boundaries is a sign of a healthy workplace culture that supports working relationships. A positive workplace is a must for healthy dealing with stress at work.
As much as you extend a hand to your coworkers, you need to be able to ask for support yourself. You can do so by:
- Coaching and mentorship, which build your leadership skills
- Delegation to enhance your team and unload your workload.
Managing Workplace Stress when You Are Pressed for Time
Time or the lack of it is the ultimate workplace stressor because it conflicts with all other stressors.
Therefore, managing workplace stress always has to start with how you structure your time. Then, you can implement other strategies that help you with knowing:
- When to be firm or push your limits
- How to structure communication, so no one gets confused
- Meaning of expectations
- Asking for coaching or mentorship from a leader you admire
Are you ready to implement these strategies for managing stress in the workplace and solve the goals vs. resources problem once and for all?
Click below and start the free virtual team training.