Work Pressure Vs Work Stress

2 min read

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A little work pressure can be a good thing, but at what point does healthy work pressure turn into work stress? And just how do we tell the difference?  

Healthy work pressure feels like a challenge you can rise to. It motivates you, focuses you, allows you to learn new things and perform at your best. Here are some characteristics of healthy work pressures: 

Clear expectations: You understand what’s expected of you and have the resources to achieve it. 

Manageable workload: You have enough time and capacity to complete your tasks without feeling overwhelmed. 

Sense of control: You have some influence over your work schedule or how you approach tasks. 

Positive outcomes: The pressure helps you achieve goals and gain a sense of accomplishment. 

Work stress, on the other hand, feels overwhelming and uncontrollable. It can lead to negative emotions and health problems. Here are some signs: 

Unrealistic deadlines: You feel pressured to complete tasks in an unreasonable amount of time. 

Unclear expectations: You’re unsure what’s expected or the goals keep shifting. 

Lack of control: You have little say in your workload or how you complete tasks. 

Negative impact: The pressure leads to anxiety, burnout, and hinders your work performance. 

Physical symptoms: You experience illnesses such as headaches, stomach-aches, or difficulty sleeping due to work stress. 

What can you do to ensure you maintain a healthy balance of work pressure and eliminate the stress?  

Set clear boundaries around your time management and communication. Be clear about your work hours and stick to them as much as possible. Schedule breaks throughout the day and avoid checking work emails or messages outside of work hours. Techniques like timeboxing can help you allocate specific times for focused work. Have open conversations with your manager about your workload and priorities. Discuss flexible work arrangements if needed, and don’t be afraid to say no to taking on excessive tasks. 

Prioritise your well-being by ensuring you schedule self-care time, find a hobby that reduces your stress and brings you joy. Maintaining a physically healthy lifestyle will boost your energy levels and enhance your resilience to stress. Try to seek a healthy environment by finding a workplace that prioritises employee well-being and invests in their people.  

It takes time, but experiment and find what works best for you and your company. If you can achieve a better work life balance your health and performance will improve. 

Author Naomi Fenn-Mansfield

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