How to Take Control of Workplace Stress
The best and simplest definition of stress I’ve ever heard is that stress is the difference between expectation and reality.
Let’s repeat that: the difference between expectation and reality.
So, if I’m expecting a raise, and really don’t get one… I am stressed.
If I am expecting to have the same routine every single day of my working life, and it changes….. I am stressed.
If I expect to be the top seller quarter after quarter in my department and fall short… I am stressed.
Stress is not always a bad thing. It can be motivating.
But, most workers are not motivated by stress because they are TOO stressed. In fact, The American Institute of Stress reports that “80% of workers feel stress on the job, nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress, and 42% say their coworkers need such help.”
If 80% of workers feel stress at work, what can be done to lessen these feelings? How can one take control over workplace stress?
In my experience, the answer lies in one word: flexibility. I’d argue that the more flexible you are at work, the more power you will have over stress.
Flexible Expectations Reduce Workplace Stress
I’m not saying you should reduce high expectations, but stress can be lessened if workers learn to have ATTAINABLE, REASONABLE expectations. Keep the lofty goals, but set daily expectations that can be met. For example, if you are trying to rework an entire marketing campaign, you may be overwhelmed. But, if you learn to break things down into daily tasks, you will have daily accomplishments.
Flexible Responses Reduce Workplace Stress
When faced with a stressor, let’s say a new customer relations management system rollout, are you able to respond in a flexible manner? Is your “go to” response to be stressed or calm? Think about your co-workers and different situations you have been in as a team—who has the most flexible response? I once worked with a woman who let NOTHING faze her—she simply tackled problems as they came. I was in awe.
Having a flexible response to stressors directly relates to having flexible expectations. Expect some curveballs to be thrown into a major project. Expect there to be some late nights or computer problems. Practice a less emotional response.
Flexible Personality Type and Work Style Reduces Stress
Are you a Type A personality? Is it possible for Type A personalities and Type B personalities to tap into each other’s strengths without resentment? I think so, but again, this requires an AWARENESS of differences and a respect for these differences. Instead of trying to change someone who uses way too many spreadsheets, try to see other’s strengths and how they fit into the bigger picture.
Artemis Consultants believes that the workplace should not be a source of stress. Our highly customized recruiting service options will keep both companies and job-seekers stress-free.