Monday, September 23, 2013

Stress Free Work Environment

Belinda @ Kids Matter
“Chronic stress at work can lead to physical ailments from minor skin irritations all the way up to life-threatening conditions like heart disease.” Angie Mansfield
STRESS!! Ugh… one of the most horrid words ever uttered. Who doesn’t have some sort of stress on a daily basis? Suddenly, you find your mind bouncing to a memory of that one always happy, bubbly person in your office. The one, who on some days, just makes you cringe because there is no way anyone could be that happy all of the time. Well, what if I tell you there is a way to make that feeling possible for you? Would you jump on the band wagon? Ok then, ‘hike up them pants and get to running’ because the band wagon doesn’t stop for you! Removing stress is not about bringing life to a halt. It’s about making changes in your daily activities that promote the energy to cope with stress. The simple fact of the matter is that stress will always be a factor in our lives but it does not have to be crippling and it does not have to impact our job performance.
There are two options in determining how to best deal with stress. One, the easiest, choose to not deal with it… just go on living a life that could possibly put you in the hospital with a life threatening illness. Or, two the better option, decide that today is the day things are going to change and exert the effort to make it happen. A good deal of the stress we encounter at work is brought on by ourselves and can be eliminated or greatly improved. Other contributing factors are, for the most part, out of our control. So, if you can’t do anything to change factors not in your control it would then stand to reason that the stress factors you can change must be attended to immediately.
Organization and personalization
Have you recently thought or proclaimed aloud in a state of panic, “my desk is a disaster”? Clutter is a huge stress contributor. An unorganized work space will cause loss of focus and productivity. If you spend 30 minutes looking for a file, then you have just wasted 29 minutes of your valuable work time. Take a look around your work space. Given the old adage we like to use on our children… “A place for everything and everything in its place”… is your office clean and organized? Is everything in a place that is easily accessible according to your specific job needs? Is a drawer you frequently access in the third row, fourth drawer down, of file cabinets down the hall behind another set of cabinets? If your office is not set up to optimize job performance, then consider reorganizing it. Discuss with management how the organizational issues are contributing to your stress. Develop a plan together to improve your work environment. Remember, organization in your office is not only applicable only to the physical office, but also the digital space on your computer. Having a clean, organized file management system on your computer will greatly reduce stress. Searching for the electronic file is just as frustrating, stressful, and unproductive, as searching for the physical file.
Imagine that you have just had an upset client leave your office. You’re emotionally drained and your shoulders are contracted up around your ears. Panic sets in. What do you do now? Go to your happy zone. Create a space in your office that is filled with things that make you smile and relax. Create a bulletin board with pictures of your favorite people and things. Take a small box that would fit nicely in a not-so-crowded drawer and fill the box with trinkets that trigger fond memories. If you have a smartphone, create a “happy zone” folder and drop files in it that fill your heart with joy such as pictures, quotes, videos, and music. Pull it out for viewing as often as needed but be cognizant of time spent in your happy zone so that it does not impact job performance.
The whole point of a stress free environment is to make you feel better while allowing for improved productivity. We are all individuals with different stressors. No one knows you better than yourself, so take a moment to analyze what stresses you out and what makes your whole world seem at ease. I actually had a friend who was given the task of reducing stress in her job. That task stressed her out. Every job can be stressful if we don’t know how to cope with stress. All the ideas to treat stress could be listed one by one, but will do no good unless we truly want to change ourselves. Aspire to be inspired for change is a good thing.

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