Time - or lack of it - has always been a major contributing factor to stress, anxiety, and pressure in the workplace. Time pressure adds to the stress of looming deadlines, the balancing act of family versus work time, and the ever-shrinking time left for personal growth and relaxation. Never though, has there been such a lengthy stressful and downright scary time at work as we have all experienced since the pandemic changed all our lives.

Work-related stress in the time of COVID-19

70% of Americans rank stress related to work as a significant factor in their lives in 2020, compared to 64% in 2019, before the pandemic.(1) Stress at work has a direct impact on workplace productivity as well as employee health, making everything more difficult and less enjoyable. Recognizing the symptoms, you may be experiencing is the first step to managing workplace stress. You may notice (2):

Identifying work related factors that can add to stress is the next step.(3):

The following tips may help you better manage your time at work and reduce the impact of workplace stress on your life.

Take time to have a little fun

Since the causes of workplace stress vary greatly, so must the strategies to reduce it. Here are some tips to get time on your side, reduce stress, and start building a more productive, happier workplace.

  1. Have fun - Lightening the mood helps everyone cope.
  2. Change it up - Provide opportunities for people to use their talents and skills in new ways - you may discover excellent workers who have been under or mis-employed.
  3. Banish Procrastination - It steals your time and increases your workload! Make a habit of starting with the hardest task and working your way to the easiest!
  4. Support each other - Help your team find ways to protect their physical and mental health. Show that you care, and trust that they care too.
  5. Take time - If you don’t track your time, this may be the time to start. You’ll find hidden pockets of time to do the ‘fun’ part of your work!
  6. Promote Participation - When people feel they are part of a decision, they are more likely to take responsibility, be supportive, and contribute positively.
  7. Define Employee Responsibility - Encourage team members to take responsibility for their own job and their contribution to the success of the company.
  8. Time Journal - the more you understand where your time goes, the better your planning will be, and the less likely it is that stress will get you down.

Reducing stress and managing time builds a better, more stable work environment for you and your team. Knowing that your work environment is under control gives you stability and resilience to meet the many stresses of work in the time of COVID.

Stress is inevitable, but there are ways in which we can lessen the load and make our workplaces more manageable. Having a supportive team, organizing your time effectively and having fun are effective ways to minimize stress.