Recently colleagues have shared how “stressed” they are at work. Mainly, they reveal how people in their office are more agitated and short-tempered. In this economy, we may find it harder than ever to cope with the challenges of our job or business. Both the stress we take with us to the job and the stress that awaits us at the job seem to be on the rise. We are all prone to feeling this added pressure whether we are the owners or managers.
Over the years consulting with various types of businesses I focus on several areas where a few changes could work to overcome stress that was developing in the work place. Here are three tips:
· Review all preparation and plans for projects in progress and projects contracted for. Make certain that contingency plans are in place. Interview all key participants of a given project, their feedback is important.
· Review all scheduling and projected time-frames to make certain they are realistic and flexible.
· Specifically review all staffing requirements for projects. The tendency in a recession is to lay off staff. However, once business starts to build back up, many business owners are reluctant to re-staff fearing a down-turn is lurking over the horizon. This is okay in the short-term, but if staff perceives this is a new habit or pattern, stress levels in the office will increase. Often the outsourcing of personnel and hiring of part-time employees could work within the budgetary constraints of the projects. I found that owner’s resistance to hiring adequate staffing is common after a recession. Rolling forecasts are very helpful in showing if the projected profits in the projects could absorb the added staffing expense.
When my stress levels at work are rising, it is usually because I am annoyed at someone who is not doing what I want, or a project that is not turning out the way I want it to. Both these causes of my stress revolve around the word “I.” When I have a little more patience with those I work with and when I take the focus off of me and think about others; the others around me seem to react favorably and everyone’s stress is normally reduced.
Many times our creativity or “out-of-the box” thinking places us into uncharted waters. It is certainly expected to have a few nerves when we are trying something new. I remember other examples where I have stepped out of my comfort zone and overcame obstacles and achieved success. I maintain my focus here on past successes. Mark Twain said, “I had a lot of problems in my life…. Most of which never happened.”
When my stress levels at work begin to rise I make the time to head to the golf practice range. Getting lost in the fundamentals of a good golf swing totally absorbs my mind and afterward I have more clarity, focus and usually a different perspective.
I utilize consultants as a sounding board. It is remarkable how an objective fresh point of view can change stress into positive action.
Meditation is another stress relieving tool. I simply sit in my chair whether at work or at home, and focus on my breath coming in and going out. I say to myself:
Breathing in, I know I am breathing in.
Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.
After five minutes I feel better!