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According to our recent Workplace & Hiring Trends Survey 2019, over 30% of people experience ‘’Too much stress’’ or ‘’Burnout’’ on an average day. Similarly, a Europe-wide survey by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work found that 22% of Irish employees experience stress at work either ‘’always’’ or ‘’most of the time’’.
While stress is something which cannot be avoided entirely and so must be managed correctly, it is most certainly not something which should become debilitating. Although a certain level of stress can be somewhat healthy in terms of motivation and performance, it is important that it does not stop you from productively and happily fulfilling your role. Stress levels have continued to grow in Ireland over the past number of years, with survey findings showing that stress levels in Ireland have more than doubled between 2010 and 2015, with 2016 continuing on this growth trend. This comes in conjunction with the introduction and implementation of increased flexi-working options and work-life balance focus. So, what more can be done to improve our workplace wellbeing?
It’s important to keep an eye on the amount of stress you are experiencing daily, with a research report from VHI published last year revealing that 67% of Ireland’s corporate employees needing to take better care of their mental health.
As well as this, 41% of professionals surveyed for the report are of the opinion that the stress they experience day to day nowadays is more than five years ago.
If you are feeling persistently overwhelmed in your role and spend the majority of your working day feeling tense, then it may be time to look at addressing the amount of workplace stress which you consider to be the norm. The following are some simple steps which could assist in reducing this -
By paying attention to both your physical and mental health, you are putting yourself in the best possible position to face workplace challenges. Choosing a healthy diet, taking regular exercise and getting enough sleep are all important in balancing your stress levels. By keeping these simple things in check you can avoid stress triggers such as lack of focus and fatigue. Prolonged stress can lead to physical exhaustion, so it is imperative to keep yourself in check, both mentally and physically, to avoid such concerns.
If you feel that things are getting too much or that you are being given more than you can handle, then bringing this to the attention of your manager or someone in a position of authority is vital in attempting to resolve the issue. Your employer should have your best interests at heart, and therefore should be open to discussing what can be done to improve your wellbeing at work. Your manager may be able to help you prioritise tasks and delegate some of the responsibility in order to ease your workload and help you to fulfill your role to the best of your abilities. Most workplaces have a policy or some form of a programme they follow in regards to achieving a healthy work/life balance for their employees, and so speaking out about stress is not an uncommon concern to be brought to an employer's attention.
Achieving a healthy work/life balance is something which is widely talked about but often difficult to achieve. Balancing striving to do well in your career with a personal life is certainly no mean feat, however there are certain measures you can take in order to work towards this. This can include learning your employers stance on working from home and flexible working hours to see if you can meet some arrangements to accommodate your needs, taking into consideration your commuting time, etc. Learning to say no to certain activities which are not mandatory, such as being on a committee, can often allow you more time to focus on your priorities. Valuing your personal time and communicating to your employer when other commitments/family issues arise will help keep them in the loop and hopefully gain their support if you need some assistance or increased flexibility within your schedule.
Planning ahead and keeping your schedule up to date can help to alleviate stress levels in the workplace. Being organised in other aspects of your life can also have an impact on the amount of stress you face in the workplace. For example, getting organised for the following day the night before means that you avoid rushing in the morning, therefore arriving at work stress-free. Simple steps like this can help you to be more productive and efficient while at work, hence reducing stress levels throughout the day. Organisation and efficiency go hand in hand, so by working as efficiently as possible when you’re actually at work, you avoid undue stress towards the end of the day which you could end up bringing home with you.
If you feel you are experiencing excessive workplace stress, then you should consider trying some of the above steps as a form of action. There shouldn’t be a stigma surrounding voicing your concerns both in and out of the workplace, and with workplace wellness being such a hot topic for both employers and employees at the moment, it is more important than ever that people are stress aware.