6 Things To Avoid To Manage Stress At The Workplace

Whether you are a fresh graduate new to a workplace environment with its own set of culture or have been in your post for several years now, you recognized how work can sometimes be a source of stress.

Meetings, deadlines, colleagues, management – all these can contribute to your stressors. Having a job requires showmanship and utmost effort which can be daunting at times, especially when you are dealing with other personal matters.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “Burnout and stress are at all-time highs across professions.” In fact, based on a survey conducted by them, it was reported that there was an increased rate of burnout and stress from adult workers between the years 2020 and 2021.

Simultaneously, based on the 2022 survey of the State of the Global Workplace from Gallup, “stress levels have risen to a new all-time high globally, with the Philippines having one of the highest levels of stress of any nation.”

Compared to other countries in Southeast Asia, Filipino respondents are reported to be experiencing stress at a rate of 48%. It is also greater than the 44% average for the world. Additionally, the Philippines came in second place regionally for daily feelings of despair at work (32%) and third place for daily feelings of anger (24%). When it comes to everyday worry, the Philippines ranked 8th in Southeast Asia. Consequently, the global statistics show that 40% of people worry every day, 23% are depressed, and 21% are angry.

Despite the fact that many Filipinos are currently dissatisfied at work, there is some good news – the Philippines had the highest rate of employee engagement at 31%.

Engaged workers, according to Gallup, are “very involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace. They serve as psychological “owners,” spur innovation and excellence, and advance the organization.
Statistics do not lie and the workplace being the source of stress happens around the globe. Therefore, it is very important to know what employees can do and should avoid to reduce the high risk of getting all stressed out at the workplace.

Here are the things one should avoid for an effective stress management at work:

1. Procrastination

Procrastination is the act of delaying something. It is putting off a task that one thinks will be completed once a plenty of time is open. Procrastination is usually formed gradually until it becomes a habit.

Working on a project last minute because one thinks it would be better if done under pressure is a perfect example of how procrastination works. Most people rely on that very idea – working under pressure creates better results. Although for some, that may be true, procrastination has a lot more consequences that benefits.

Think of the time you could have allotted for more meaningful tasks instead of fidgeting and stressing yourself over a deadline. A clinical psychologist, Dr. Tilahun said that procrastination can even cause chronic stress which can build up other health problems. She stated “If you’re always completing tasks at the last minute, you’re always under pressure.”

Aside from that, when you finally complete the task, you don’t feel the same sense of pride or accomplishment you might have had if you finished the work on time.

“When you know you could have done a better job if you started a project a little earlier, and you realize you didn’t do your best, you can feel discouraged,” added Dr. Tilahun. “Procrastination can be destructive.”

2. Longer Work Hours

A recent study from the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Labor Organization (ILO) revealed that working more than 55 hours a week results in poor health.

Achieving a work-life balance can be difficult at times due to the seemingly endless load of work, duties and responsibilities. While it is reasonable and mostly harmless to work longer hours from time to time, especially when there are sudden changes in schedules and deadlines, one has to keep track of how frequent working hours have been extended.

Longer work hours usually come with additional workload. Therefore, increasing the risk of stress and burnout. As much as you like getting more work done through taking an overtime, learn and be mindful of how it would affect your overall health – physical and mental.

After-work hours are allotted for rest, bonding with loved ones, and perhaps, personal errands as well.

3. Workplace Conflicts

There are times that tensions and issues may rise at the workplace. It may be a feud between two of your colleagues or in the management but whatever it is, do not attempt to fully engage yourself with these kinds of workplace conflicts.

Most of the time, unnecessary disputes are rooted from gossip and baseless accusations. You definitely would not want to find yourself tangled and caught in those petty fights.

On the other hand, in some cases that serious concerns need to be addressed, there is always an appropriate way to let the management know about it. Workplace conflicts can be a source of stress and affect one’s work performance. The negative energy is absorbed and may linger in the atmosphere ruining everybody’s productivity.

Only involve yourself in meaningful interactions with colleagues and workmates. This creates a positive network and connection in your department.

4. Having No Boundaries

As mentioned earlier, work-life balance. Make sure that you set clear boundaries between your work and personal life. What is for work is only done during work hours. Outside work hours, personal events and matters should not be interrupted by tasks and duties at work.

In line with this is also the employees’ right to say “no”. Boundaries help in identifying what is acceptable and not. It determines what should be tolerated and what should not.

In today’s work culture, it is pleasantly becoming the norm not to let one’s boss or supervisor assign tasks that are beyond working hours. It is indeed a commendable improvement recognized by the workers, accepted and even implemented by the employers. Even short meetings and discussion of work plans with co-workers should be done only during work hours. Establishing a specific time for supervisor and colleagues to reach you every day and trying to stick with it would be a great help in defining the boundaries set.

5. Not Taking A Time Off

Working in straight hours throughout the day is one great way to let your job consume you gradually. Sitting in the office, eyes stuck to screens, loads of papers piled up on the desk, the workplace scenarios can definitely make you feel suffocated.

Drowning oneself to workload does not guarantee a productive and effective output. In fact, it is more likely to be the opposite as staying in one place feeling suffocated can also make you feel unmotivated.

When a worker feels there is nothing new to what he/she does in the workplace, it may result in feeling of exhaustion and boredom. That is why taking a break between work hours is encouraged. A 10 to 15-minute short break will help you clear up your mind and gain a fresher perspective at things. With this, you will be better at dealing with situations that require your action.

Use and make the most out of your vacation leaves. It is a necessity to spend time away from your work so that when you return to your workplace, you feel more focused and recharged.

6. Unorganized Workplace

The physical environment you work at greatly impacts the way you feel about your work and how you do it. A cluttered desk only gets in the way of accomplishing your tasks. It distracts you to exert an optimum effort while completing your work.

A clean and organized workplace helps in conditioning yourself to work productively. Nothing beats a workplace that is calming and welcoming to its employees. A spacious, well-lit office with a vibrant ambiance aids in keeping the workers’ motivation on a high-level and the stress level on the low.

Adding a plant on your desk and some decorations that make you comfortable and at ease can also be done if it will help in maintaining your productivity level.

To end, realistically speaking, it is impossible to totally avoid stress at the workplace. While you may not have a direct control on what causes you stress, you have a control on how you respond to it.

With the demands and pressure at work, it is deemed important to look out for yourself and be knowledgeable on how you can manage your stress effectively.

By identifying what to do and what to avoid doing, you allow yourself to be even more efficient at the workplace. As an employee, it is a responsibility to keep yourself at your optimum best.

However, employers also play a vital role in making sure that their employees are well-taken care of in terms of management policy, compensation and incentives, appraisal and recognition.

Source: https://seasia.co/2022/07/28/philippines-is-the-most-stressed-out-nation-in-southeast-asia-gallup-survey-said, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-stop-procrastinating/, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412021002208