Join Dorie Clark for an in-depth discussion in this video How to reduce stress in your office, part of Personal Effectiveness Tips.
- No one wants to work in a stressful environment, and yet it turns out that in a lot of ways we contribute to that. You may be mirroring the behavior of others or just not thinking about your actions fully. But they could have negative consequences that bring everyone down. Here are three ways you can take control and help stop the madness. First, here is a life changing tip. Stop being vague. Have you ever had a moment of dread where your boss leaves you a voicemail saying, "Hey, can you call me back right away? "I have something to talk to you about." And you wonder, what is it? Are their layoffs? Did I mess up something with a project? Is there some rumor circulating about me? But no, he wants to know what kind of sandwich you'd like for the staff meeting.
Vagueness creates stress for people, because their minds race to all sorts of worrisome places. It's also inefficient. If you call him back and he's not there, you still have no idea what he needs from you. But if he'd just said, "Hey, what kind of sandwich do you want for Thursday?" you could have told him tomato and cheese, and you'd both be done with it. Second, a huge cause of stress and uncertainty happens when someone has a time sensitive request for you and you ignore it, forget about it, or just blow past it with no response.
There's a difference between, "Do you want to grab lunch sometime?" and "Do you want "to join us for lunch Monday at noon? "Let me know so I can make a reservation." You can let a general request slide for a while, and it's not the end of the world. But when people have very specific time sensitive questions, whether about meeting plans or issues related to work projects, it's rude to let them slip, and it can cause a huge amount of both stress and resentment. If you want to eliminate all of that and improve everyone's quality of life put a star on time sensitive messages in your inbox when they come in, and don't let the business day close without responding to them.
It's only a small fraction of your overall messages, but they have a disproportionate impact. Finally, stop micromanaging and micromonitoring your colleagues. You may genuinely need that information or that report from them, but if you've told them you need it by Wednesday morning, give them until Wednesday morning. Don't keep checking in every ten minutes or pinging them or shooting them sideways glances if you see them grabbing a cup of coffee downstairs. Professionals thrive on autonomy. Unless they've given you a concrete reason to believe they're not going to follow through, or they'll somehow miss the deadline give them enough space to deliver.
Scrutinizing them too closely will only lead them to resent you. These days we are all under a lot of stress. You don't need to add to it. Most of the annoying, stress-causing behaviors we might engage in are purely unintentional. If we can become conscious of them and change them we can positively impact the tenor of all of our work lives.
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