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Stress in the Workplace


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April 17, 2006

Hi [[firstname]],

Imagine yourself in these two situations.

Number 1: It's the middle of the month; the end of the 
financial quarter and you should be 85% shipped to plan. 
You're only 50% shipped to plan and the factory is in 
total chaos trying to ship everything that's not nailed 
down. You're the manufacturing manager. The question is: 
"Can you handle the stress?"

Number 2: Your company is outsourcing and downsizing. 
Your job classification is going to be impacted. The 
question is: "Can you handle the stress?"

At one time or another, we are all subjected to a
situation that generates stress. If you want some tips 
on how to reduce workplace stress, be sure to read this 
weeks article.

Have a nice day, and stay connected.

Bill Gaw
Business Basics, LLC


Now serving over 11,695 subscribers

Competitive Knowledge for Manufacturing People 



The leading source of stress for adults is their jobs.

The workplace holds an excess of anxiety-producers. 
Many are from unpredictable sources such as sudden job 
losses, relocations, losing co-workers to downsizing 
or having multiple bosses in quick succession.

To reduce stress brought by such changes, employees 
need to assess their skills periodically, learn new 
ones, participate in professional or trade associations 
and stay current on industry trends. "By maintaining 
employability and support systems, you can be better 
prepared the next time your company downsizes, merges 
or changes focus," says Sue Aiken, chair of the 
graduate program in career development in the School 
of Management of John F. Kennedy University in Walnut 
Creek, Calif.

We can't eliminate stress, but there are ways to 
manage it. The following 10 tips can help you reduce 
your overall stress and ease specific sources of 

1. Maintain a sense of personal power. A study of 
high-pressure work environments by Essi, a San Fran 
research firm, shows one factor that predicts which 
employees would become ill and which stayed healthy: 
people's perception of their personal power or lack 
of it. Personal power is defined as how much control 
you feel you have over your life, your ability to 
function and express yourself.

Ideally, your work environment will be an organization 
where colleagues and superiors listen to your problems 
and solutions and you're consulted when your role is 
redesigned, given the resources and information needed 
to perform the job and can contribute your ideas.

2. Practice effective communication. Communication is 
essential for preventing and easing tensions. Whether 
you head a team or are a team of one, how effective 
you are at communication depends on how well you 
understand others' verbal and nonverbal messages. Pay 
attention to co-workers' gestures, tone of voice and 

3. Develop good working relationships. Trust, respect, 
understanding and compassion are necessary in any 
relationship. Co-workers have to function as a team and 
reach a common goal. But they often focus all their 
attention on their tasks and very little on how they 
treat each other.

Good work relationships will relieve stress and can 
buffer you from other stresses. Spend five minutes of 
each hour considering how to get along with your co-

4. Choose the right job. During interviews, ask the 
questions that help you make sure the job's right for 
you. Get a realistic picture of the company or 
department's culture, working relationships, problems 
and hidden agendas.

5. Be flexible. Recognize and accept that things change. 
If you need to hold on tightly to the status quo, you 
need to loosen up. Think of your organization as a 
space ship. It's constantly correcting its course "to 
go where no man has gone before" in the marketplace. 
You have to change with it. Be proactive. You're in a 
better position to maneuver if you are primed and ready.

6. Manage your anger. When you feel a surge of anger 
rising, back off and leave the scene as soon as you can. 
Repeat in your mind: "let go" or "relax." Breathe 
deeply until you feel your tension leave.

Ask what's the real reason for my anger? Gain 
perspective and plan your next step. Practice what 
you'll say and how you'll say it. Make sure you're 
calm and in control of your emotions. Approach the 
person with a win-win attitude and desire to resolve 
the problem and have a good working relationship.

7. Have realistic expectations. Don't set yourself up 
for disappointment or put yourself on an emotional 
roller coaster. Try to be optimistic and realistic at 
the same time. This outlook doesn't mean you shouldn't 
have desires or expectations. Just make sure you're 
not always longing for the impossible.

8. Adjust your attitude. Your attitude--how you make 
others feel about you and how you make them feel about 
themselves--can make or break your future.

How's your attitude? Do you complain the moment 
something doesn't suit you, or do you take things in 
stride? Try to see yourself through the eyes of others. 
Do you make others happy or miserable? If you need to, 
make an attitude adjustment.

9. Tie up loose ends. Not being able to finish a task 
can be unsettling to those who like to shut doors and 
end sentences with a period. Most people need some 
kind of closure on projects, even the little ones.

If you're on a treadmill where you're always beginning 
new tasks before finishing old ones, make a list of 
what's left hanging. This exercise can make projects 
seem more manageable. How can you structure your time 
to tie up those loose ends?

10. Take time to revive. People aren't built like 
machines. They can't run with their engines revved up 
continuously. Eventually they wear out. That's why 
there are coffee and lunch breaks. It's long been 
recognized that people need to take a little time off 
every few hours to revive. They return to their tasks 
with renewed enthusiasm.

If you can, try not to take work home. Every now and 
then a project may take some extra time, but work 
shouldn't be devouring your life. 


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with commentary and "lessons learned" by yours truly. 
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To review details, click on one or all of the 
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