What’s the best way to avoid stress at work?

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Stress within a working environment is simply unavoidable. Whether you know it or not, at some point during you’re working life you will have been stressed out. With a working day seemingly no l…

Stress within a working environment is simply unavoidable. Whether you know it or not, at some point during you’re working life you will have been stressed out. With a working day seemingly no longer the standard 9-5, there are so many more stresses which come into play. Although the occasional bit of stress can be used as extra adrenaline to help us work, nine times out of 10 that’s the only positive. Not only can stress have an effect on productivity, but also working relationships.

Some responsibility must lie with the employee, but most of it will depend on your management. A well-designed, structured working programme is one of the most effective ways to help an employee perform at their maximum level.

Stress has seen a huge amount of work missed over the past few years, with these reports from 2015/15 a primary example.

440,000 stress related cases were reported, a rate of 1,280 per 100,000 employeesA total of 234,000 new cases were reported, which equals a rate of 740 per 100,000 workers. However, this rate has been fairly steady for the past decade9 million business days were missed due to stress35% of all work related ill health was down to stress, with 43% of all sick days caused by too much stress.

So what can you do to stop it?

From an employee’s point of view, the simplest thing you can do is complete your work to the best of your potential. After that it’s really how you personally best deal with stress. One of the best things to do is to communicate effectively with your team. If you are struggling with work and it’s getting on top of you, then speaking to your manager or colleague’s and asking for help might just give you a little bit of a release. A stress matrix is also a good formula which Arinite health and safety advisors have formulated. It is a simple method which is used to effectively find out the stress levels.

Taking time off is something that we all do, but one thing which not many people do is take short breaks. Too often holiday is saved up to be used all at once, however, one problem with this is facing burnout. If you do several months’ work and then take a week off, you face the risk of being too exhausted on holiday and not fully enjoying yourself.

What can managers do?

It can be very hard for managers themselves to avoid stress, as there will no doubt be pressures on them to get results. But there are small things managers can do, in order to keep stress levels low, as well as helping increase productivity.

Control. Giving your staff a level of control over their own workload might be considered a risk by some. However, if you give employees responsibility over their own work it can work dividends. It shows great faith by a manager, which should hopefully give your staff more confidence. Theoretically it should also prevent management from getting on the backs of staff, increasing pressure.

Relationships. All working relationships should be professional and appropriate for the working environment. This might seem obvious, but too often managers and more experience employees delegate work, or sometimes even bully. This is totally unacceptable in the working world.

Support. Unfortunately, support for staff is not given enough. Employees should be constantly encouraged and offered support throughout their work, this means being given the necessary resources and training when taking on new duties.

Change. It might not appear to be a big issue but it can be. Even small changes can alter the work process someone has. New roles or duties must be effectively communicated no matter how big or small they might be. Sometimes change is unavoidable, but the better it is handled the less stressful it will be.

Stress will hit everyone different and everyone will deal with it differently. But these are some great tips to help keep stress to a minimum.

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