Two words which are often used interchangeably but in fact, have very different meanings...
It's an easy one to confuse... Did you know that working days lost due to stress, depression or anxiety account for 55% of all working days lost each year? People overstretch themselves and work at breaking point until they snap! There are lots of different techniques to manage workload and to have a work-life balance, however, do not confuse it with being under pressure. Pressure is actually proven to be healthy and forces the mind and body to work at its best and improve.
What is stress?
Stress - too many demands and not enough resources to meet them, which could include things like money, time or energy. You may feel like you are no longer in control or that what is being asked of you is not manageable, no matter how hard or efficiently you work.
What is manageable pressure?
Manageable pressure should be a positive aspect of life, it's always good to have targets and goals in mind when at work. You might have to work harder than usual, take some risks, challenge yourself, change or accept new thing to meet these targets – but it is manageable; or at least, it should be. If it isn't then you need to start asking yourself why it isn't manageable, as you could be overworking yourself.
The role of a Manager
Good management is vital to any organisations financial success, but managers can also play a huge role in the wellbeing of their staff and sometimes, on the other hand, their stress levels.
The HSE cites the following among their main causes of workplace stress:
- Unrealistic work demands
- Lack of control over aspects of work
- Poor working relationships
- Unclear Roles
- Lack of managerial support
- Ineffective communication over change
All of which are clear examples of poor management.
There are, however, some very simple things that a manager can do to alleviate pressure and levels of stress within their team, including:
- Being positive - if staff see that their manager has a negative outlook on work, then this will undoubtedly rub off on them. Be positive! Too many negative thoughts will start to have an impact on your work.
- Keep things in perspective - sometimes it's impossible to be in control of absolutely everything but you can keep tabs on everything. Something I like to do is make small lists on post-it notes for tasks that require multiple actions. I like making lists because ticking things off the list makes me feel more in control of what I'm doing and it makes the tasks more actionable.
- Be supportive - if you think someone in your team is struggling with their workload, offer them a helping hand and if they're working towards a deadline that looks unachievable, see if it is possible to extend the deadline.
We here at iHASCO are big believers in pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and striving for success. This is both at work where we are striving for perfection with courses and customer service, to going out of our usual routines where we have our iHASCO adventures. Every year (unless there is a global pandemic!) we go on big adventures that take us far and wide. We have trekked Trolltunga in Norway, walked in the Alps below the Matterhorn in Switzerland and had an adventure weekend in Wales last Summer! These big team building events are huge stress busters! Everyone meeting in a social, relaxed environment working together to accomplish a difficult challenge.
How we help organisations become more aware of stress in the workplace
We've helped over 80,000 people become more aware of stress in the workplace with our IOSH Approved & CPD Accredited Stress Awareness Training Course. The course is split into 3 easy-to-follow sections: understanding stress, identifying stress and how to prevent and reduce stress. It takes just 30 minutes to complete online!