Ease the pressure of workload stress

According to the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) last year 595,000 workers in the UK suffered with work-place stress.

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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.  

  1. 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.
  2. 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.  
  3. 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.  

Josie Copsey

Life Change Expert, Author, Mentor, Josie Copsey Ltd

Career changes, figuring out the perfect job, building incredible leaders and wellbeing are my jam. But before all of this, there was a corporate girl who had to go through quite a few setbacks, lessons and experiences. Ambitious, driven and focused I built a very successful change and training career that spanned over two decades. Helping leadership teams of large companies to transform their business. But back in 2013 I had enough. I was lost and didn’t recognise who I was anymore. A combination of being professionally bullied, suffering with burnout from working 12-hour days and zero personal life had done me in. My corporate work life had taken over me, I was selling my soul to a job and my health was suffering as a result. I took action and quit the job. Getting clear on my career was the ultimate light-bulb moment for me. But, there had been no definitive path in how I go about making this career change happen; all I knew was what I wanted to do and my determination and focus guided me through. I’m a gal who loves to plan and organise – a couple of my superpowers – so I documented every step and action I took knowing that one day, this would help others just like me. Those who have an idea on what they want to do, but unsure how to make it happen. Those who feel lost and hate their job, but don’t know what to do. Those who are stuck and looking for direction. I teach what I’ve done personally to build a career doing what I love and living the life I want. I’m all about taking action; you tell me what you want and I’ll show you how to make it happen. It is absolutely possible and achievable to be in a job you love; a job that brings you purpose and job satisfaction. You’re here for a reason. Your talents, your heart, your passion – you are one of a kind.