Lots of us feel under pressure at work but not so many of us know how to deal with it effectively. Here are some practical ways to handle a high pressure environment and some suggestions on how to de-stress.
Identify the source of the stress
The workplace is a complex organism and it’s not always easy to identify what’s causing the pressure that you feel. You may think that you have been given too much work to do where you have periods when you’re not busy at all, followed by bursts of frantic activity. If that’s the case, then it’s a problem of workflow rather than workload and may be much easier to solve than you think.
Work on your communication skills
There’s a reason that everyone lists ‘ability to communicate’ as one of the top qualities required in so many jobs – it’s because workplace stress is often caused by people who can’t communicate what they want, and by people who don’t know how to listen. If you don’t understand what someone’s asking you to do, get them to explain it again until you do. It’s much better to have a reputation as a stickler for detail than to have one as somebody who doesn’t pay attention.
Find someone to talk to
They don’t have to be able to ‘fix’ your problems, in fact sometimes it’s better if they don’t even work for the same company as you. What’s important is that they’re able and willing to listen and allow you to let off steam; maybe even have a laugh with you about it. You’ll find this a great way to relieve stress.
Learn how to say ‘no’
One of the mistakes everyone makes when they’re starting out is to think that they have to say ‘yes’ to everything – take on every job that’s going, volunteer for extra work to gain experience and so on. All these things are good in moderation but it’s easy to become overwhelmed – particularly if you’re not a natural organiser – so make it clear that you’re happy to take on more work but you’ll need to finish what you’re doing at the moment first.
Look after yourself
When you’re young, you feel that you should be able to handle anything, and it’s easy to neglect your physical and nutritional well-being. Your body will be able to cope with pressure much more effectively if you’re not filling it full of caffeine and sugary snacks to give yourself a lift during the day. Equally, it’s not realistic to go out every night until all hours and then expect to be on top form the next day. Your body needs rest and good nutrition, and a brisk walk at lunchtime will clear the cobwebs more effectively than a double espresso.
Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise
Try not to waste time on something that doesn’t need to be done until next week (even if it’s easy or fun) only to realise that the other thing you were supposed to do is really difficult and needs to be done before you go home today. Our Graduate Management Trainee positions offer plenty of training and advice on how to work more effectively and efficiently so that there’s less pressure in the workplace and more satisfaction. Why not apply today?