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Providing balance in the workplace

When the industrial revolution started the owners of businesses provided everything for the workers and the workers just needed to focus on work. This was not the best because they provided the barest minimum but at least the workers knew where to go for whatever they needed and the work was such that when they left work that was it for the workday.

This is no longer the situation. A typical example is being on your feet all day but because of external factors you cannot control like bad network, no electric power, etc; and you are not able to tick off tasks on your to-do list.

Many people in the workplace for various reasons feel stressed, overstretched, and overwhelmed. They feel like they have to multitask so often that nothing is getting done even at their best. The following suggested strategies and time-saving techniques may help get them in control of finding balance and making the best of their work lives.

A definition of stress is a feeling of “demands exceeding the personal and social resources that is available for the individual to mobilize.” This may change based on current life situation or even tolerance to stress that on a given day.

Read Also: Workplace ethics

HRM, please note, when stress is not dealt with in an effective manner, it can lead to physical and emotional exhaustion and eventual burnout.

Employees need to determine why they seem always to be in a hurry. They should be encouraged to plan and even plan for emergencies even when they do not foresee any. There is no need to rush around unnecessarily. Focusing on one task at a time is sensible because we now know that multitasking is not the best thing for the best results.

Employees should be encouraged to create a support group for themselves. Venting to someone trustworthy, it may relieve some of the stress.

Sleep, good nutrition, and regular exercise go a long way to prepare the brain and body for the next day. Information about this should be circulated from time to time so employees can buy into it.

They should be encouraged to pick up relaxing hobbies as this also helps to reduce or even prevent stress. Stress may not always be physical but maybe purely mental. Visualising a more calming environment may therefore help to de-stress and even take the edge off.

Believe it or not, learning to breathe properly staves off stress. Many people are shallow breathers. We need to deep breathe throughout the day. This helps provide oxygen to the body as well as lower the effects of stress. Also taking a quick quiet break helps. Even 10 minutes can go a long way. We should all avoid alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine because it affects our bodies and moods, and minds.

Multitasking means doing several tasks at the same time. Companies actually think this is a skill and ask for it in their job adverts. You may be surprised to know that recent research shows that multitasking usually does not save time (which is the basic premise of multitasking).

This is because the brain cannot fully focus when multitasking; it actually takes longer to complete tasks. When people attempt to complete many tasks at one time, or alternate quickly between tasks, errors increase and it takes much longer—often double the time—to finish the jobs than if they were carried out sequentially. This is largely because the brain must restart and then refocus.

Studies show that the time it takes to “switch” your mental processes between tasks is time-consuming and inefficient. Multitasking can actually heighten and lead to additional stress, irritability, disorganization, and errors

Truthfully there are times when multitasking is a necessity. Therefore if employees have to multitask they can be more efficient by multitasking simple tasks that are done often, therefore, making it easy to do without thinking. The tasks should not be rushed.

Slowing down can be more productive.

Rushing can create more mistakes and more work. Keeping a prioritized list as said before and focus on one task at a time can help avoid stress. Asking for and receiving help from others when appropriate is also a great strategy. Individuals should celebrate the closure of tasks. I always do. They can also stop generally being controlled by time because again that heightens stress levels.

Finally, everybody, management, and staff should keep the big picture in your life in their view always. We should all learn to work to live and not live to work.

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