The main cause of work-related stress in this survey was workload. Tight deadlines, too much work or too much pressure or responsibility of the individual.
In addition to this, other factors included lack of managerial support, organisational changes at work and role uncertainty where there was a lack of clarity about what the job was, or what was required of the individual.
Time and time again, I see workload at the centre of workplace stress. Targets, actions, expectations... they build up. 8 hour working days now appear to become a thing of the past, and with the increase in technology the expectation to stay late or pick up work from home is playing a bigger part in our lives.
On a mission to change the dynamics of the working world, I've got 3 techniques for you to try if you're experiencing workload stress in your job right now.
- Take control of your workload - At the end of the working day, make a list of what you've got to focus on for the next day. If you're doing this on a Friday, make a note for the next week. It helps you to get on top of what's going on and unload from creating workload chaos in your head. In my corporate days, I kept a working action log which made life so much easier. The whole team knew what was going on, who was responsible for making things happen, or who needed to provide status updates. A final column was where we kept a note of when this task was due to be completed. It helps to keep you and the team focused on what the priorities are. All things were captured from planned scheduled work to last minute requests.
- The power of NO! There are only so many hours in the working day. You're only contracted and paid to work a set number of hours a week. If there are requests coming in and demands for extra time or additional work, you can say no. By you saying no, you're taking control and demonstrating that it's ok to do so. Surprisingly we all feel the guilt or fear that we will be without a job if we say no. It's not about being lazy or not a team player, you have to put yourself first in these circumstances. Turn this no into a positive response and say that you're happy to help, and give an idea of when you can help them next.
- Communication is key! If you're feeling overwhelmed with your workload right now, then set time aside to talk to your line manager about what can be done. Be clear on what's taking too much time, what the pressures are and if you have any suggestions on what could be done to help ease that workload pressure. You'll be surprised at what a positive difference a conversation can have on your stress levels.
We are only human. There are only so many hours in the day. You can only do so much. It's not about burning yourself out to the detriment of the job or the company you work for. Regularly check in on how you're feeling about work and the tasks you've got going on.