Office Place Stress, Part 1: How do you handle it?

This will be a great series on office place stress, and what you can do to stop it dead in its tracks. OK, perhaps not dead in its tracks, but you’ll at least be able to categorize, condense, prioritize and realize that office place stress can be just a figment or your imagination. Here’s what we can do together.

First, know that however bad your office place stress gets, you get to make some decisions. For example, take a look at your typical day and gauge your office work place on a scale of 10 to 1. 10 being the worse stress you can take, and 1 being the least. Here is a fantastic revelation that you might want to keep to yourself. Say for example you have a stress level that is way out there. I mean, on the drive to work, your anxiety is through the roof. Where do you store your tension? Where are you most vulnerable physically. Personally, I tend to hold my tension and stress in my lower abdomen. So, I consciously focus my breathing on my lower abdomen, and with every breath I take, allow the relaxation process to enhance the experience. By the time I get to work, I find I have much, much more energy that I would ordinarily have had I not relaxed for the entire drive in. (Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that I get to listen to my favourite podcast’s as well)

Your office place stress will be there when you get to work, so, why allow it to get the best of you on the drive to work? Think about this. When you combine all the stress and tension that is going to get thrown at you in your day, and your doing what you’ve always done (allow parts of your body and mind to literally freeze up) isn’t it about time you did something different? How long do you intend to go on torturing yourself with your specific type and brand of anxiety? There is hope for you, even though you may think that there isn’t.

THE FIRST STEP: SET REALISTIC GOALS FOR Y0UR SELF. In this day and age, I know that almost every business is expecting more out of you with less time available. The one thing that you need to do is to take stock of your abilities and be really honest about the work load you can handle. This will no doubt take some real soul searching to find out what is fair, honest and doable. Sit down with your immediate supervisor and set some guidelines on how you need to approach your workload. This should be a team effort because if if you don’t work as a team, it’s going to be a might long day, and for some of you, a long year.

Both of you should start by putting together a list of expectations. Really, a form of procedures that you can use as an expectation guideline. After all, if you don’t have any kind of procedure list, how will you ever know if your meeting the expectations set before you. When I used to work for IBM, Microsoft, HP and Toshiba, we had very specific training and a mini printed manual called a complete ‘scope of work’ where every single step was documented so that there should be very few if any questions after you have been trained in a particular platform, whether it was software related for Microsoft, or hardware break/fix based for Toshiba when you need to fix a huge four foot long plotter.

A basic procedure manual is so vitally important that, if your place of work doesn’t have them or support using them, you can always have employees pointing their fingers at each other saying ‘it’s not my fault, its his or hers’. Procedure manuals give direction, essential training, responsibility, traceability and sense of accomplishment. If there are no basic procedure manuals or guidelines, why not volunteer to create one for your company in the exact department you work in.

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