Whether you love or hate your job – feeling stressed or overwhelmed at some stage of your career is inevitable. And you’re not alone; workplace stress is much more common than you think, despite it regularly being ignored on both a personal and professional level. Many people suppress it, out of fear of being perceived as weak, or a fear that it could cause repercussions in the workplace.
In fact, Business Insider recently published a post which rated the stress levels of different jobs. The article stated that some aviation roles were deemed some of the most stressful jobs in the world. Using data from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), the “stress tolerance” for each job was ranked on a scale from zero to 100, where a higher rating signals more stress. To rate each job, O*NET looked at how frequently workers must accept criticism and deal effectively with high stress at work. For a pilot, co-pilot and flight engineer, the figure was 95.
So it’s fair to say that some of us in the industry could be exposed to a stressful career, no matter what your dream job is – but what can you do to manage your stress levels at work? Read our tips below to on coping with stress at work.
Stress is intensified by a lack of communication. This is particularly the case for professionals who face the pressure of deadlines, targets and client expectations. Ambiguity on a task or project will only make matters worse if you aren’t regularly communicating. You are entitled to a clear brief about each project and you should be supported by your team and employer throughout each venture.
A supportive manager will drastically decrease stress levels. If you feel like there is a lack of communication between you and your boss, ask for a meeting to discuss the mechanics of the project. If this is something you haven’t been comfortable doing previously, a meeting will help to encourage the level of communication you both have, and develop a stronger working relationship. Which in turn will make it much easier for you to speak to them more often about any issues you’re having.
Small things like not responding to an email, or reluctance to sign off on tasks outside of your control, or even lazy instructions can all contribute to stress. Chances are, your boss hasn’t realised that they are making you feel this way – a gentle nudge in the right direction will help move these tasks along.
2. Don’t overload
A heavy workload is a major contributor to stress at work. Not communicating your workload or allowing the right time to complete it can mean that you end up with expectations you cannot manage – which doesn’t look great to an employer who has promised the work has been completed You’re a person, not a machine – it’s okay to turn down work, or push it back if you can’t manage it just yet. Again, this comes from clearly communicating your workload to your manager or colleagues to ensure you have the workload you can manage. Additionally, it’s fine to ask for help. If you;re struggling, there’s no shame in being too busy and your employers would rather you spoke up before you have to be signed off for stress.
Manage your stress with a positive twist! watch this video below on how to make stress your friend:
3. Give and take
It is important that everyone on your team pulls their weight. If you’re a great worker, and everyone knows this, you can easily get roped in to doing more than your fair share. Having a good team around you takes a massive weight off your shoulders. If you seem to be the only one working and as a result are suffering from stress, then it could be that you need to start delegating work to others. Have a meeting with your line manager to raise the issues concerning your workload, and how it could be handled. You should have evidence to show this too, but the chances are they will understand what a valuable asset to the company you are and respect your views and how you’re feeling. There’s no harm in going above and beyond your job description – but make sure you aren’t doing everyone else’s job for them.
Clear communication is key in a working environment; a lack of this, combined with an excessive workload, unrealistic deadlines and unmotivated colleagues can ultimately spike your stress levels. The good news is these can all be solved. Stress needn’t rule your life, and it shouldn’t. Your manager, colleagues and HR department are all there to support you. Solutions are available and, if utilised, stress will be a thing of the past.
So, give yourself a break! And if you need more advice on how to copy with your busy work life, read our guide here on how to be kind to yourself.