Career tips: How to avoid stress at work

Busy schedules, regular interruptions, and uncertainty about the future can make even the best workers feel under pressure. Stress is one of the leading causes of workplace absence in the UK, and in the US, 80% of employees have admitted to being stressed at work. Eliminating workplace stress will increase your overall wellbeing and likely improve your performance, so consider following these five simple guidelines. 

Career tips: How to avoid stress at workPlan meticulously

Knowing what you are supposed to be doing and when will restore calm. Planning in advance also mitigates the risk of last-minute scrambles to complete projects under a looming deadline. Sit down every Monday morning and write your schedule for the week, covering what you are going to work on, when, and for how long. Leave a few gaps for last minute meetings and project updates, and note upcoming appointments and deadlines in your diary. Although you can't preempt everything, having a structured framework in place will make it easier to know which appointments are flexible and which are set in stone. 

Prepare for interruptions

The average office worker is interrupted once every 11 minutes. Although you can't predict who or what is going to break the flow of your work, you can have a plan of action in place. For example, set aside an hour after lunch specifically for informal meetings. If anyone wants to talk to you, ask them to return at 2pm when you can give them your full attention.

Don't be afraid to say 'no'

Saying yes to everything that is asked of you might seem like a good way to build a positive reputation within your organisation, but it can be damaging if you over-commit and are unable to deliver every project successfully. Be honest with yourself and your colleagues about what you are able to achieve. If you feel that you are unable to take on another project while maintaining your standards, it is important that you tell them this, explaining your schedule. Try to offer a solution: maybe you can work on it next week, or spare 15 minutes to offer them some expertise.

Utilise your lunch hour

Instead of eating lunch at your desk, get away from your computer screen for an hour. Take some time to relax and redress your work-life balance. Six minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by two thirds, so on a sunny day take a paperback down to the nearest park. Exercise has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, so join a nearby gym and spend half an hour on the treadmill. Or simply enjoy the moment over lunch in your favourite bistro. You'll return to work refreshed and ready to tackle the afternoon.

Consider a career change

Most of these tips involve taking back control of your working life, but unfortunately, hostile work environments are difficult to overcome. If your efforts at positivity continually hit a brick wall, it might be time to take a step back and consider a new career path. While every job has the potential to be stressful, having more control over your work-life balance will make it easier to avoid frustration, and a new employer can make all the difference. To find out about the benefits of working with Engel & Völkers, visit our dedicated career website.

Engel & Völkers

Pretoria Waterkloof
The Club Retail, Office 204 c/o 18th Street and Pinaster Avenue, Hazelwood
Pretoria, 81
South Africa
Phone
+27(0)12-030 0301

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