5 tips for managing stress at work

Here are our top tips for managing stress at work.

Sophie Lester

Tue Apr 06 2021

For most of us, stress is not a stranger - it is unlikely we go through our working lives without feeling any element of stress at all.  

A little bit of stress can be sometimes beneficial, to get that report in on time, or ace that presentation. But if we feel high amounts of stress for a long-time, it could negatively influence our health, wellbeing and work performance.  

Here are our top tips for managing stress. 

Confide in colleagues. 

Your colleagues are not only there to get the job done. They offer a valuable support network, an ear to listen and could just offer you that bit of advice that you have been looking for. Perhaps your colleagues know just the ‘thing’, the ‘person’ or the solution to help resolve your stressor.  

And sometimes, just hearing another person resonate with you and say ‘yeah, it does sound like you have a lot on at the moment’ can help you to feel understood. This is especially important now, because it’s been found that almost half (46%) of UK workers have experienced loneliness whilst working from home during the pandemic [1]. 

A problem shared is a problem halved, so schedule in a zoom meeting and enjoy a regular chinwag over a cuppa. Doing so will help create a positive support network within your team which can only be beneficial.   

Plan, plan, plan… 

‘Step by step one gets far’ - so don’t let your mind feel overwhelmed by the many projects and deadlines which lie ahead. 

Instead, planning ahead helps with organisation and enables you to break big tasks down into smaller ones. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the countless future deadlines which seem to be building up, why not break big tasks down and set clear achievable milestones? You can use this to structure your working weeks and daily tasks. Doing so can even create regular ‘little wins’ which means that you feel accomplished after a week of positive progress.    

Set objectives. 

Setting yourself goals and objectives can gives you a sense of purpose and direction, and helps to focus your energy in a positive direction. Many people believe that self-investment is the key to success, so these objectives do not even need to be work related. Your objectives could be personal objectives or self-development objectives. For example, where do you see yourself professionally in a years’ time, and what are you going to put in place to get there?  

Setting objectives can help to reshuffle the prioritisation in your mind - suddenly areas of your life which were put on the back burner, are now just as important as that extra report you promised your boss. A new perspective can help to reduce immediate feelings of stress associated with the daily grind.  

Optimise your working environment.  

Many of us are likely to continue some homeworking when restrictions are lifted. At one point, our new home-offices were looking fresh and inviting. Now it has been easy for clutter, paperwork (and empty mugs) to slowly creep their way in. We are sure even the tidiest person can relate to this! A tidy desk equals a tidy mind. So, why not take some time out to de-clutter and organise your desk space? Water your desk-plants and take away those used mugs - it will give you (and your poor plant!) a new lease of life. 

If you haven’t got round to it yet, it is worth investing in a good quality chair and desk. Research says only 58% of people were found to have an office-chair during the pandemic (albeit not good ones) [1]. We spend an average of 35 - 40 hours sitting at our desks (and more for people that work overtime), so we should make our environment as inviting as possible. What’s more, the right chair and desk can even prevent long-term injuries to your muscles, joints and bones which could contribute to feelings of stress in the long term. 

Take a break. 

With many of us working from home at the moment, the line which separates work time and downtime can become blurred. There are two things you can do to control this: 

Firstly, set physical and mental work-life boundaries. Make sure you fully switch off from your technology in your downtime. Use your lunchbreak to fully disconnect – log out of your laptop and leave your work phone at home for an outdoorsy walk in the fresh air. This will help you gain mental clarity and you may find you come back to your desk with a new lease of energy and motivation. 

Secondly, your annual leave is there for a reason – it is time for you, away from work and deadlines. Make sure you tie all important things off in the days leading up to your leave to prevent colleagues from interrupting your relaxation. Giving yourself a proper break can help you discover a new perspective or sense of resilience that you were unable to find before. 

To sum up 

High levels of stress can be detrimental to both your wellbeing and work performance. But there are some simple things you can do to help alleviate stressful feelings in the workplace, from scheduling a chat with your teammates, breaking tasks down, to de-cluttering your work environment.  

Remember to confide in your colleagues and if you need it, seek professional help too. 

How to support your employees

One of the best ways to support your employees with their health in the workplace is to offer them access to regular health testing.

Medichecks have a range of tests to help monitor their health on an ongoing basis, including tests for general health, hormones, underlying conditions, energy, mood and much more.

Many of these tests can be completed conveniently at home with a simple collection kit, with results delivered securely online with advice from a qualified doctor. Results can also be downloaded as a PDF to take to the GP should any follow-up treatment be needed.

Find out more about corporate health checks here.

[1] https://www.totaljobs.com/advice/lockdown-loneliness-the-collapse-of-social-life-at-work