How to Cope with Stress at Work

No matter what your rank or responsibility, everyone can experience stress at work. While working in a high-pressure environment may involve more stress than alternative careers, no-one should be placed under an excessive amount of stress in the workplace.

Despite this, millions of people in the UK experience high levels of stress due to their work. In fact, a 2020 survey found that 79% of employed adults in the UK say they commonly experience workplace stress. Furthermore, it’s estimated that 12.8 million working days are lost due to employees experiencing work-related stress, anxiety or depression.

With so many people affected by workplace stress, it’s clear that things need to change. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your responsibilities or your work life is beginning to affect your wellbeing, it’s important to take action. With these top tips, you can begin to combat workplace stress:

1. Identify the Cause

Many people who are stressed at work simply feel that they ‘hate their job’ or decide they want to move to a new employer. However, it’s important to take the time to determine exactly what’s causing you to feel this way. Often, stressors can be easily resolved but you need to be able to identify what’s causing the issue before you can take action.

2. Understand the Company’s Policies

When you have an issue at work, you’re protected by employment law. In addition to this, most companies have internal policies which state how medical issues, grievances or complaints should be handled. By reading more about your employer’s policies, you can determine who you need to speak to about your ongoing workplace stress and what can be done to help you.

3. Talk to Someone

In many instances, you’ll need to approach your Line Manager or Supervisor if you want to talk to them about stress at work. Alternatively, you may feel more comfortable talking to a manager or someone in the HR department.

By voicing your concerns, you can ensure that people in a supervisory role are aware of the difficulties you’re facing. Additionally, you’re giving them the opportunity to make meaningful changes and reduce workplace stress.

4. Suggest Potential Changes

If you know what’s causing your stress levels to rise and you can see possible solutions, be sure to let your manager or HR team know. Perhaps your workload needs to be split between more people or maybe you don’t have the right equipment to carry out your role? Whatever the issue is, the more solutions you can present, the easier it will be for managers to make changes. Remember – you may not be the only person experiencing stress at work, so speaking up could help to create a happier work environment for everyone.

5. Seek Legal Advice

Sadly, employers don’t always deal with workplace stress effectively. In such instances, you may want to seek legal advice from experienced employee lawyers. By talking to a specialist law firm like didlaw, you can learn more about your rights and what action you can take. Often, employers pay more attention to correspondence from legal personnel than they do to their employees. When you’re represented by reputable employee lawyers, you can give your employer the chance to take positive action or take your case to court or an Employment Tribunal.

6. Get Medical Help

When you experience high levels of stress, it can have a negative impact on your physical, emotional and mental health. Due to this, it’s important to access medical advice as soon as realise you’re suffering from stress-related symptoms. Treatments, such as talking therapies and/or medication, can help you to cope with stress more effectively and may minimise the subsequent symptoms you’ve developed.

7. Reduce Stress Levels

Finding healthy ways to reduce your stress levels is always important, regardless of what your job role entails. Many people use exercise, meditation and mindfulness to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress. Whether you head to the gym to work off feelings of frustration, or you practice daily mindfulness to reduce worry, it’s essential to find a combination of stress-reducing activities that work for you.

Recognising Workplace Stress

As workplace stress is so prevalent, a significant number of people simply accept it as part and parcel of everyday life. However, an excessive amount of stress at work should never be considered ‘normal’. By recognising the signs and symptoms of workplace stress, you can take action swiftly and protect your own wellbeing.

Stress can manifest in a number of ways, but common indicators of high stress levels include feeling angry, restless or irritable; irregular sleeping patterns; difficulty concentrating; feeling inadequate; anxiety or depression; being short-tempered and/or finding it hard to switch off from work.

If you recognise the signs of workplace stress, be sure to talk to someone. By seeking help and support, you can ensure that changes are made to reduce your stress at work, which will enhance your overall wellbeing too.