April is National Stress Awareness Month. According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), there were 822,000 workers suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2020/21*.
It is important to recognise the signs of workplace stress; if left unaddressed, workplace stress can have a huge impact on both employees and employers and it is vital that steps are taken. Understanding the cause – which may stem from work or possibly something occurring outside the workplace – is essential.
Identifying the cause of what triggers the feelings of being overwhelmed is the first step; has your workload dramatically increased? Have you taken on a lot of additional responsibilities? Are you dealing with resourcing issues within your team? Do you have a poor relationship with another colleague or your line manager? Once you understand what is at the root of problem, you can look to adopt tactics and strategies to try and manage the situation.
Here are our tips and suggestions to dealing with stress in the workplace:
Communicate: It is important to speak with your line manager if you are finding that your workload is unmanageable. Consider whether this is caused by a potentially temporary situation – such as a particularly busy period at work – or if this is something which has been building over a longer time period due to an allocation of additional tasks or resourcing issues within the team. Highlight key areas which may have become more challenging and have suggestions to put forward on how these can be better resourced or solutions to address the issues that have arisen.
Be realistic: You may be keen to show that you are a willing and capable employee and a good team member, but that doesn’t mean that you should always say yes to every request that is asked of you. If it is not feasible for you to take on additional tasks or meet the deadlines put forward, be honest and outline the reasons why and offer a feasible timeframe as an alternative.
Talk to others: As well as speaking to your line manager, a frank and honest conversation with friends, family or a trusted colleague to talk through the way that you are feeling bring clarity to a situation which may have initially felt overwhelming by enabling you to filter out which parts are the most important and focus your attention more clearly.
Take regular breaks: During the working day, make sure you are taking regular breaks away from your desk to refresh your mind. It is important to take a proper break at lunchtime to eat a healthy, nutritious meal that will set you up for the afternoon and make time to get outside and take in some fresh air. On a weekend, ensure that you use your time outside of work to relax and look after yourself.
Use your holiday allowance: Not taking your full holiday allocation – or feeling like you are unable to take time off – can be an indication that you are feeling overwhelmed at work so it is important that you schedule in regular holidays and days off to recharge your batteries.
Time for a new role?: If the things that are making you stressed cannot be addressed, then it might be time to think about whether a different role or organisation may be a better fit for you. Stress can be damaging to a person’s confidence so it is vital that any move is considered very carefully to ensure the opportunities available and culture of your potential new company is right.
Sharp Consultancy specialises in the recruitment of finance and accountancy professionals. With offices in Leeds and Sheffield our highly experienced team of consultants recruit for temporary, interim and permanent roles across the full spectrum of positions throughout Yorkshire and beyond. CONTACT US today and speak to a member of our team about your next career move or recruitment needs.
*HSE Work-related stress, anxiety or depression statistics in Great Britain, 2021. Published 16 December 2021