Become more productive, healthier, and happier at work with these methods
Studies have shown time and again that the number one source of stress for most Americans is their jobs. Aside from making workers less happy, stress can have a real impact on workplace productivity, engagement, and happiness, all of which affect the bottom line. Unhappy workers are 10% less productive, and stress-related health issues cost employers $300 billion per year. But, what do you do about it?
If work has you stressed out, or you’re looking for tips to help your employees reduce stress, we’ve compiled some of the best advice on reducing workplace stress.
1. Be active rather than reactive
Dr. Sharon Melnick, author of Success Under Stress, advises that acting instead of reacting can go a long way towards reducing stress, and we love this advice. As meditation expert Noel Coakley reminded us, being placed in a stressful situation activates our fight-or-flight response, which is better suited for bear attacks than client calls. Melnick advises to be aware of what you are in control of – your responses, tone, actions – and identify what you’re not.
2. De-clutter your office space
An interesting study from UCLA shows that just looking at clutter elevated women’s stress hormones, so if you’re feeling stressed, start by organizing your space. Cleansing your space allows you to think more clearly and be at ease in the area you spend most of your day. Reducing stress you can control is always a good place to start.
3. Find a way to reduce interruptions
German researchers discovered that dealing with constant interruptions can lead to increased stress. Easier said than done, right? The email inbox pings, the phone rings, texts are going off or co-workers are poking their heads into your office for a quick question. But there are tools for creating uninterrupted blocks to work and make real progress on your project. We like this “cocooning” strategy, which provides practical tips for focusing for specific periods of time. There are also plenty of apps to block Internet distractions while you get things done, or you can do the old-fashioned technique of shutting down your email or putting your phone on Do Not Disturb. If you need to get writing done, you can even try gaming the system with an app that deletes your work if you stop writing (though we’re not sure how much that’ll help with your stress!). To get really good at this, check out this post on developing a single-tasking habit.
4. Consider a brain dump at the end of every day
Studies have shown that sleep and stress feed one another. Adults who report stress sleep worse; adults who sleep worse have increased stress. While you can’t do too much about sleep at the workplace (unless you’re one of these guys), you can do things at work that will lead to a better night’s sleep. The number one thing to do? Get all your thoughts out about the next day or week ahead on paper. Essentially, have a brain dump that creates a to-do list for the next day. This allows you to leave that behind at work and come into the next morning with a clear plan for the day.