According to the 2023 State of the Global Workplace Report, approximately 50% of the Australian workforce are experiencing significant stress at work, while 67% are quiet quitting. Evidently, workplace stress is a critical issue for Australian workers and is often overlooked compared to physical stress. Although work stress cannot be avoided, it can be managed. 

In honour of Stress Awareness Month, today’s blog will identify the most common stressors in the workplace and recommend key strategies to manage them. 

Some of the most commonly reported stressors at work are:

– Long hours

– Toxic workplace culture 

– Micromanagement

– Repetitiveness 

– Heavy workload 

1. Long hours 

Certain work environments demand longer hours such as early morning starts or late-night finishes. To avoid burnout, it is important to take rest, ensure regular breaks, and break down your work day into schedulable tasks. Those who work long hours or are required to concentrate for extended periods need to be well-rested, so it is always important to get a good night’s sleep. 

Taking regular breaks or using the Pomodoro technique can be an effective way to recharge and remotivate yourself. Additionally, noting down the tasks for the day and checking them off can provide a sense of satisfaction that can help you to stay on track, and move swiftly from one task to the next. 

2. Toxic workplace culture 

Many leaders in the workplace believe that a good workplace culture is a crucial contributor to the financial success of a business. According to an MIT study, the five attributes of a toxic culture in the workplace are disrespectful, non-inclusive, unethical, cutthroat, or abusive behaviour. 

One way to address this is by letting managers know how the workplace culture affects your performance. In order to prevent infectious toxicity, it is important to address issues with the manager so that they can provide specific one-on-one feedback to those exhibiting toxic attitudes. 

3. Micromanagement 

Micromanagement refers to when a manager becomes overly involved in their team’s work to the point where there is minimal delegation and maximal monitoring. 

One way to go about micromanagement is anticipating where your manager may step in and demonstrate that you are already one step ahead. This builds trust and eases the manager’s nerves regarding task progress. 

4. Repetitiveness 

Repetitiveness can result in boredom or depression in employees. However, a change in mindset is an effective way to improve engagement. One way to do so is by reflecting on the importance of completing repetitive tasks. It would be worthwhile to consider how the completion of these tasks can result in business growth or potential career progression. Another way to improve engagement is by listening to engaging audio. Thirdly, if you are competitive, why not turn the completion of tasks into a friendly game or competition? 

5. Heavy workload 

A heavy workload can often pile up resulting in workload paralysis which is the inability to complete tasks due to the unending and overwhelming volume of work. An important aspect of managing a heavy workload is organising priorities into short-term and long-term responsibilities. Using a planner to record tasks, assign deadlines, and schedule micro-tasks by order of priority will be useful in visualising and managing a large workload. 

If tasks are still overwhelming, it is important to address this with management. Remember, it is ok to ask for help and it is better to do so early on. 

A proactive individual will anticipate stressors in the workplace and would have established effective practices to manage them. If you are currently experiencing stress in the workplace, try and implement the following guidelines to help you thrive!