New Braunfels, TX, November 18, 2022
We are nearing the end of the 4th quarter and as we all know the end of the year can be a difficult time for everyone. Thanksgiving is just around the corner which means the other holidays are not far behind. We have family coming to town and holiday shopping to get done. All our customers are pushing to get their jobs finished so they can finish the year strong and meet their 4th quarter goals. Many areas of the country are already experiencing extreme cold weather and difficult site access. There is a lot going on and sometimes it can feel like it is all piling up on top of us. Stress is common and happens to all of us from time to time, but it doesn’t always have to be a negative thing. This is a topic that we feel important to bring it to the forefront of everyone’s minds as stress will impact our overall health, wellness and safety.
Here are three ways to help manage stress in the workplace.
Communication is always key in any aspect of safety, but sometimes it can be hard to communicate when you are experiencing stress. People who are feeling stressed can become angry or frustrated at little things making it difficult for the crew to work as a team. Or some people hold their stress inside letting it build to unhealthy levels. Reaching out to your team each morning and doing a wellness check at the start of the day can give the opportunity for someone dealing with stress or other issues to communicate or express themselves. Just a simple, “How are you doing this morning?” can really go a long way for someone that doesn’t know how to talk about what they are feeling. Doing a wellness check during our morning safety meetings could help avoid possible incidents by identifying stress as a possible hazard. And on the opposite side of this conversation, if you are not feeling 100%, this is a good time to bring it up to the team. Many stressful situations can be helped simply by getting it out and talking about it.
- Focus on the task at hand
Statistics show a direct correlation between an increase in workplace stress to an increase in workplace incidents. There is a well-known proverb that says, “Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words. Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions. Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits. Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character.” If we deal with stress day in and day out without finding ways to manage it, the stress can begin to manage us. Or we can get into the habit of letting the stress distract us from the tasks in front of us. This can lead to negative thoughts that lead to unsafe actions. With stress, simple tasks can become difficult and even dangerous because our focus is elsewhere. Studies have shown that learning to focus on what is in front of you can help relieve stress rather than cause it to grow. Work is full of stressors and will always be full of stressors. If we don’t learn to keep our focus on the task at hand, we will struggle. This, of course is easier said than done and just like anything else takes practice.
- Promote positive stress
Positive stress is when you perceive a stressful situation as an opportunity that will lead to a good outcome. An example of what positive stress could be getting a promotion. You are assigned with more difficult tasks and new responsibilities. Positive stress is about challenging yourself without overwhelming yourself or expending all your resources. This type of stress can help you grow as a person. We know there are challenges ahead but we have expectations that we will have a good outcome because we have a positive attitude. Every day we are faced with stress in the workplace, from learning a new customer’s standards for site builds to weather that slows down our progress and puts us behind schedule. How we look at the obstacles in front of us can determine how our day will play out. Are we allowing ourselves to have negative or positive stress due to our circumstances? Using our first two reminders – Communicate and Focus on the task at hand. This will ultimately help us turn our work stress into positive stress. When our team is negative, everyone is negative. But when the team is positive and motivated, that’s when the work gets done, and it gets done safely.
We also want to remind everyone that through many healthcare providers have confidential resources and support. For our Ontivity team, our healthcare provider does offer confidential resources and support.