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You’ve probably heard the old joke, “How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?”
Answer: “Only one, but the light bulb has to really want to change!”
The same can be said for managing other peoples’ emotions. A person’s feelings are under their own control, and our attempts to intervene can only do so much.
But it’s that little space of “so much” that might make a difference in the stress level of your customer.
If you’re a contractor or home improvement specialist, you know well the stress your client is under as they watch their home being torn apart and wait for their lives to be back to normal.
However, if you’re a business person of any kind who deals with customers, the following tips on how to help manage your customer’s stress are meant for you.
Recognize signs of stress.
It’s helpful to notice when your customer is first starting to feel stressed. Hopefully, you can head off the full-blown stress stampede at the pass and keep things calm right away.
Look for the following signs of stress:
- Anger. Is your customer starting to get short with you? Are they interrupting you? Is his voice getting louder? Is her face getting red? Try not to get defensive, just notice that your customer is likely angry because they are beginning to be stressed and utilize one of the interventions below.
- Anxiety. Do you notice that your customer is starting to fret about things? Are they asking a lot of “what if” questions? They might even tell you directly that they’re nervous. Anxiety can be a good indicator of stress.
- Calling (or emailing) you constantly. Your customer might be calling you more than usual, asking where his product is, when her kitchen is going to be done, or when you’re going to finish that website for them.
- Crying. This is a response that might make you very uncomfortable. Try not to worry about it too much, though. Some people really need to cry to get their feelings out, while others are just people who cry easily. It may not have anything to do with you, but it still is a sign of stress that you may want to attend to.
- Being quieter than usual. Sometimes people have a bit of a contrary response when they are starting to feel stress. They get very quiet. If your customer is usually genial and chatty and they suddenly become quiet, pay attention to this.
Recognize your own discomfort with your customer’s expression of stress.
It’s hard not to feel uncomfortable when our customer is starting to get angry, anxious, or — heaven forbid — begins to cry.
Be aware of your own feelings of discomfort with your customer’s stress so that you don’t do anything that might make the situation worse like:
- Discount or minimize their feelings. Saying things like, “It’s not that big of a deal. Don’t worry about it,” only discounts the feelings and message your customer is trying to give you. And it will likely end up in them becoming more angry or anxious, rather than feeling reassured.
- Placate them. Similar to above, saying something like, “Everything is going to be fine,” is really an attempt to make you feel better by distracting them with platitudes!
The reality is that when we allow people to talk about their feelings, it actually helps to not only feel a sense of relief, but also helps them begin to understand their problem more as they are talking it out.
What’s the real trick to helping customers manage their stress? To not only hear what your customers are saying, but to attend to it. Otherwise known as . . .
Anyone can hear words, but to actually listen is a skill. Here are a couple of ways you can let your customer know you’re really listening.
One of the best ways to show someone that you’re listening to them is to reflect the feeling that you’re experiencing.
Saying something as simple as, “I can see that you’re really upset” or “It sounds like this is making you a bit nervous,” can go a long way in showing your customer that you really understand what is happening with them.
Be an engaged listener
First and foremost, remember that your customer’s problem may seem like a small matter to you, but it’s huge to them, otherwise they wouldn’t bring it up. Try these ideas to indicate that you are actively hearing what they are saying.
- Look them in the eyes. You don’t need to have a stare down, but it will help you to appear attentive when you look your customer in the eyes as she is talking and when you’re talking.
- Don’t do something else while they’re talking. Put everything else down and listen. Don’t hammer a nail, ring up another customer, or multi-task. Continue to look them in the eyes and give them your full attention.
- Ask questions for your own clarification. Not only will this help you understand their problem better, but it gives your customer the message that you are truly interested in helping them. And it can help them build a framework that puts their problem into a perspective that both of you can work with.
- Tell them a similar experience you’ve had. Be careful with this one! While telling a story about your own feelings of stress during a similar situation can convince your customer you know where he’s coming from, it’s vital that you don’t hijack the conversation and get carried away with your own story. You’re supposed to help your customer, not the other way around!
A few more helpful ideas
Finally, here are a couple more techniques that can help your customer feel at ease.
- See if there is a small part of the larger problem you can help with. Is there something you can do that will help them feel like action is being taken on their problem? Can you install the toilet in the refinished bathroom? Deliver an outline of the project they desperately need? Tell them you’ll call your distributor to see when the product they ordered is due? Even small progress can help restore their confidence.
- Give them as much information as possible. As much as you can, tell your customer what the process is for their project or product. Time frames, outlines, and possible setbacks all give them an idea of what to expect so their stress level doesn’t run too high.
- Take a deep breath to trigger them to take one. Deep breaths can be very helpful in decreasing the stress response and, like yawning, people will often mimic the behavior of another. So take a deep breath and maybe it will prompt your customer to take one, too. (Just make sure your deep breath doesn’t sound like a sigh of exasperation!)
I hope some of these ideas help you in working with customers who are feeling a lot of stress. Beyond these, though, remember that you can’t fully control someone else’s feelings. Make sure you don’t stress yourself out by trying too hard to influence your customer’s emotions.
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
Every part of your business has the potential to stress you out and keep you up at night — lack of sales, too much debt, not enough money, issues with employees, problems with equipment and operations. Your brain will constantly be going. All your problems and thoughts will be whirling around, making you tired and anxious. The pressure of constantly finding ways to grow your bottom line in business builds up.
Owning a business is stressful, and you can’t really escape it. The sooner you learn small business stress management, the better. As a serial entrepreneur, I know a lot about small business owner anxiety and stress. Here are my five tips for combating small business owner stress.
1. Remember what’s going right.
As you’re building your business, it is easy to only focus on the things that are going wrong. You can become stressed when you’re looking at all the things that are behind schedule, underfunded or need to be fixed.
You can improve your stress management in business by reminding yourself of the things that are going right. List out all your accomplishments and any small business milestones you’ve achieved. There are probably more than you realize. Don’t neglect even the smallest accomplishments. Put your list somewhere you can easily see it, such as on your desk or the wall. Whenever you feel stressed about all the things that are going wrong, look at your list. Take a moment to remember all the things that have gone right.
2. Rank your tasks.
One of the causes of stress in business is having so many things to work on that none of them get done. If you try to do a little bit of each task, you will complete few of them. Don’t try to do everything at once. Try to focus on one or a small number of tasks at a time.
You need to prioritize your goals. Write down everything that you need to complete. Then, rank your tasks from greatest to least. The things you need to do first should be at the top of your list. As you work, focus on the most important tasks. Once you finish those, you can move down the list. You’re essentially creating an agenda for yourself.
Now, some people might get stressed when they see the number of tasks they need to do. Try not to get overwhelmed by the length of your list. Focus on what you need to work on next.
3. Purge your brain.
As a business owner, there’s rarely a separation between work and home. You’ll constantly think about your business and the things you could be doing. Sometimes, you can’t stop thinking about your business. Your brain is on nonstop, even when you’re trying to sleep.
When my brain won’t shut down, I write everything down that my mind is trying to process. I’ll write down my problem, possible solutions and miscellaneous notes. Sometimes writing everything out can take a while, but it’s worth it. After I write everything down, I can relax and sleep. My brain doesn’t have anything to process because I put all my thoughts in a safe place. I don’t have to worry about my business for a time because I know everything is waiting for me later, and I don’t have to worry about forgetting anything.
4. Take breaks.
This is probably the simplest piece of business owner stress management advice — take a break. If you’re constantly spinning your wheels, not getting anywhere, and stressing about the problem, taking a short break might be all you need. Stepping away from the stressor for even 10 minutes can refresh and calm you. Taking a break can even prevent burnout.
When you take a break, do something that relaxes you. Go for a walk. Get some coffee. Call a friend. Watch a funny video. Don’t do anything business related. When you get back to your business, you will have a clearer mind. You will have fresh energy to tackle the task. And, stepping away might even open your eyes to a new and better way to complete the task.
5. Take care of yourself.
Good health is important when you’re an entrepreneur. Running a business takes a lot out of you. Your small business comes with long nights, early mornings, no weekends and no sick days. Your nonstop life puts strain on your body, and then you add stress on top of that.
You need to take care of yourself. Don’t forget to do the simple things. Drink water throughout the day. Regularly eat. Get some sleep. Try to do some additional things, too. Go to a health food store and buy some natural supplements. Reduce your caffeine consumption. When you’re healthy, your body can better handle the stress.
If you can, regularly exercise. While exercise will make you physically fit, it is also a great method of small business stress management. Through exercise, you can release your anxieties and frustrations. You can clear your mind and relax. Even a small amount of exercise can reduce your stress.
Article by Donna Earl
Managing stress is an essential job skill for the successful customer service professional. Typically customer service representatives experience burnout from two sources: 1) repetitive routine requests, and 2) frustrated customers. The combination can lead to stress, unless reps manage their responses well. The following are stress-busting ideas to help keep calm and maintain perspective.
- Don’t be a sponge for customer frustration. Their frustration has nothing to do with you, so don’t take it personally. In their emotional state, all they can think of is how upset they are. Most don’t realize the impact they might be having on you. Ignore any personal attacks and exaggerations. At this point in time, they might not be rational. I was on a plane flight delayed by a lightening storm. The passenger next to me was very agitated, and was yelling ‘This airline always does this to me.’ This comment was so outrageous nobody would take his complaints personally. Sometimes the less outrageous exaggerations trigger stress responses. Remember: Never take it personally.
- Remember the angry customer is really a nice person, and has temporarily become a sheep in wolf’s clothing. Think of them normally reasonable, and in a good or neutral mood. They’ve probably called you before with a routine question, and been okay. Now you’re experiencing a blip in their behavioral radar. When talking to them, remember there’s a nice person in there someplace, and if you keep your cool and work with them, you’ll discover that nice customer again. Typically they’ll apologize and thank you profusely if you keep thinking they’ll become nice.
- When customers are frustrated, their behavior is a reaction to unmet expectations. Uncovering their expectations will help defuse the emotion, help you keep cool, and keep the conversation focused on problem solving. Keep focusing on what you can do to close the gap between their unmet expectations and their experience of your company’s services and products. When customers are dealt with sincerely and professionally, they are more open to alternative solutions.
- When you start your shift, make an agreement with yourself that you’ll stay in control of the calls, and in control of your mood. When you’re in control, the customer responds, and the conversation takes less time and is less emotional. When their frustration ‘pushes our buttons’ we’re less effective. The tone of the call is emotional rather than conversational. If you’ve ‘fallen off the wagon’, take a break, regain your cool, and resolve that the rest of your shift you’ll be in control. Find a way of rewarding yourself for your first day ‘in control’, although the lack of stress you’ll feel at the end of your shift is reward enough!
- Keep a healthy work/life balance. One of my favorite call center agents maintains perspective with a current family photo at eye level in his cube. It’s a photo from the latest family vacation. When calls become stressful, he looks at the photo as a reminder that dealing with customers is his job, and his family is his life. What is important to you in your personal life? Bring a representation of your personal interests to work as a reminder to maintain perspective.
- Keep a laugh diary. Remember the last time something made you burst out laughing? Keep a list with key words to trigger your memory of the scenario. When you’re feeling stressed and depressed after a call, look at an entry in your laugh diary to neutralize negative emotions. When you’re not at work, stay alert for funny incidents from movies or reality and add to your laugh diary. While it can be helpful to decompress by laughing about difficult calls with colleagues, it’s healthier not to spend lots of time reliving distress. Consult your laugh diary, and healthy laughing!
- Remember that stress has a physical component. Eat for mental alertness and low stress. Try declaring your workspace a no sugar zone. Although stress can send you running for sugar, the feel good ‘rush’ will evaporate within a half hour. The sugar blues can leave you more vulnerable to emotional reactions. Many people find incorporating more protein in their diet keeps them positive. Try high-protein snacks like sunflower seeds, nuts etc. and see if you notice a difference. It’s important to drink plenty of water. Feeling foggy and frustrated can indicate dehydration or insufficient protein. Eat for success, and you’ll feel calmer and in control throughout the day.
Copyright © 2005 Donna Earl. All rights reserved.
Can you suggest a good answer to the interview question “How do you handle stress?” I was asked that question on an interview last week. I wasn’t expecting it. I wasn’t sure what to say. How does anyone handle stress?
I just said “When I’m stressed out, I take a deep breath and remember that every day has its ups and downs.” I’m not sure the interviewer was impressed. Is there a better answer to that question?
Watch on Forbes:
Here is one way to answer the question.
How do you handle stress?
Let me tell you a quick story about that. I used to work an hour later than usual on Wednesdays to cover the phones for our department between five and six p.m. We had to keep the phone lines open to take care of our west coast customers.
When customers would call between five and six it was almost always because they’d received a shipment and something was wrong with it. A lot of the customers were really angry when they called. Of course any mistakes in packing and shipping were a tiny, tiny fraction of our total orders but those customers were still angry.
I had to calm people down every Wednesday night. I would let them vent.
Then I’d say “I’m glad you called. I completely understand why you are frustrated. Anyone would be. Let’s figure this out and make it right!” I learned to listen patiently. That helped my customers settle down and feel better, and it helped me manage my stress level, too.
A story that illustrates how you handle stressful situations is a million times more powerful than a clinical description of the steps you take to manage your stress. When you tell a story, the interviewer can see you in their mind’s eye, calming those customers on the phone and making them feel better. Stories pack a lot of punch!
I hate interview questions like this one, that ask a candidate to psychoanalyze themselves. Some interviewers swear by junk-science questions like “How do you handle stress?” but they are deluding themselves if they think their line of questioning will help them make better hires. Just because someone can crisply answer the question “How do you handle stress?” doesn’t mean that person is actually aware of their stress level in action, or has any special ability to manage their stress.
The interview question “How do you handle stress?” is fundamentally hypocritical, because we never talk about stress when things actually get stressful at work.
When is the last time you sat in a stressful staff meeting and heard your department manager say “Let’s talk about stress, you guys. Who feels stressed out right now? I know I do. How can we lower our stress level in the midst of this crisis? How can we take the long view and remember that these crises we’re dealing with are just silly business problems, and that nothing terrible will happen if we miss our goals this month?
“Your health is more important than meeting any dumb yardstick on the wall, you guys, and we all know it. Let’s not get confused about what’s really important — your health, your family and the relationships around you. Life comes first, and work comes second. No job is worth getting high blood pressure over. Let’s devote the rest of this meeting to brainstorming about ways to about reduce our stress!”
Interviewers say, “The how-do-you-handle-stress question gives me insight into the candidate’s self-awareness!”
Too bad the interviewer isn’t self-aware enough to know that a true interview is a two-way street. In an honest, professional job interview no one is analyzing anyone. In an upright job interview the interviewer doesn’t pull rank on the interviewee.
Sadly, too many interviewers fail to realize that the best way to interview candidates is to have a simple human conversation with them.
Some interviewers don’t understand that they are afraid to give up one drop of their petty bureaucratic power. They need to be on top and they need for a job applicant to be on the bottom. That’s sad. That attitude will keep them from being able to attract the best people to their organization.
In an authentic job interview two individuals with equal power in the hiring equation simply talk about some work that needs to be done, and determine whether the two of them are well-suited to do the work together. That’s all.
You have to wonder why some companies love to ask candidates “How do you handle stress?” Is it because they know their work environments are more stressful than they should be?
If you happen to be feeling cheeky one day and get this question you can answer this way:
How do you handle stress?
I work out every morning and do yoga so I don’t carry a lot of stress, but why do you ask? Is this a stressful work environment? Do you have too few people for the amount of work, or a high level of fear, or what?
Maybe soon we will reach the point where candidates can ask “By the way, is this a healthy, functional workplace? Do people tell the truth about problems here, and handle conflicts forthrightly and with mutual respect? Are your leaders ethical and honest here? Are employees valued and reinforced in this company?
“Is this work environment accepting of different points of view? How do you know your company is healthy? Can I hang out in the lunchroom one day over the lunch hour and ask the employees what they think about your culture?”
Most employers would not be cool with this line of questioning and that’s the real problem with the working world today. You as an applicant are supposed to grovel and beg for a job but the employer doesn’t want to air any of their dirty laundry, even though if they didn’t have a problem they wouldn’t have advertised for help in the first place.
I don’t want you to walk out of an interview just because someone asks you “How do you handle stress?” but I do want you to be aware of the interview dynamics.
If the interview is set up is as a dog-and-pony show during which you are supposed to please the interviewer but there is no energy expended in selling you on the opportunity, then you can assume that if you get the job you are not going to be treated like a valued collaborator.
You are going to be treated like a lower life form. That’s not good. You deserve better.
The interview process tells you all you need to know about a company’s culture!
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
A couple of nights ago, I woke up at 3 a.m. I couldn’t stop thinking about how I had a sales call and a client meeting scheduled back to back later that day — and how I needed to figure out a way to cut the sales call short by 30 minutes to fit both in.
First, a few related facts about me: I have a team of 25 at Web Profits, and a salesperson to lead the sales call. I’ve been on hundreds of these calls before, and I’ve managed hundreds of clients in my career. And that day, I even had other client meetings on my calendar. None of this was out of the ordinary.
So why was I so stressed out in the middle of the night?
I haven’t really shared this often, but I’ve had crazy anxiety and stress my whole life. Becoming an entrepreneur has forced me to find strategies to manage these reactions so that I can remain productive and effective in my companies.
Whether or not you too are naturally inclined to stress, you’ll need to adopt some strategies if you’re serious about the success of your own business. Here are a few of my favorites.
I work 10 to 12 hours a day on average, so I try to start my day with exercise. I’m happier, and calmer throughout the day, when I exercise. And I have my pick of multiple options: I love kickboxing, running, kayaking, surfing and paddleboarding. But while you won’t have those options in an office setting, you can still find something that gets you away from your computer — if even just for 10 minutes. Why not, for example, take a walk at lunch?
You’ll get away from the source of your stress, while also benefitting from the endorphins exercise releases.
Separate Your work and your sleep.
I work late — as many entrepreneurs do. But I’ve found that the closer I work to sleep time, the more I think about work issues when I’m trying to get to sleep.
To help separate my work zone from my sleep zone, I saw a sleep therapist who helped me create a night-time route. Now, I make sure that, one hour before bed, I stop working and turn off all of my devices (or, at least, turn on features that block their blue light). I’m also a big fan of the Oak app for doing some guided breathing during that time and making sure I’m prepped for the next day.
Unload your to-do list.
A while back, I started making a list of all the things I do. Then, I looked at who else could do those things besides me. That led me to:
- Hire an administrative assistant to remove all things payment-related from my to-do list
- Hire another content marketing person to take some output off my plate
- Cut down the number of speaking engagements I’m taking on to to four to five total in the same time period
- Use my company Pick for calendar scheduling instead of going back and forth
It’s easy to get caught up in doing a bunch of things because they need to be done. But be ruthless about protecting your time and solving productivity problems for the long run.
Set aside a “catch-all” day.
One of the biggest things that’s helped me manage stress is the way I use my Sundays. Throughout the week, things continue to pile up and my to-do list just gets worse and worse. Anything that’s not going to move the needle for me in the moment, I either decide not to do (maybe because I’ll put it on somebody else’s plate), or schedule it for “Sunday time.”
On Sundays, I’ll get up early and spend three to four hours in the morning going through all of my low-priority tasks. By clearing out this list and prepping for the week ahead, I’m able to start the next week really fresh. It also helps me relax on Saturdays, because I know I’m going to get rid of all the little things on my to-do list on Sundays.
Build systems based on your strengths.
Figure out what makes you tick. Some people — and this is not me — can have an inbox that’s full of, say, 5,000-plus unread emails. But for me, any time I have an inbox with more than a double-digit number of unread messages, I’ll get really stressed out.
That’s why I use two tools to manage my inbox: Boomerang and Things. If I know I don’t need to address something, I’ll Boomerang it to a time when I know I’ll be able to handle it (usually Sundays). Or, I’ll use keyboard shortcuts to turn my emails into to-do items with dates on them, using Things. That way, each email has an action on it, and it’s no longer left unread and causing me stress.
Find your people.
One final suggestion: Join a group of entrepreneurs. I joined the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), and I host regular gatherings in Austin for marketers, startup execs and others. Once a month, we’ll do something fun, like go-karting. We don’t talk about business all the time — it’s more about getting a group of people together who understand and can relate to what you’re going through.
That alone can really help solve your stress and anxiety.
What other strategies have you used to keep your stress in check? Leave me a note below with your suggestions:
Did you know that in 2019, work-related stress was found to cause 54% of long-term absences? (CIPD)
Work-related stress is one of the biggest issues in our society today. Pressure is increasing through employees’ workloads and managers need training to understand how to manage this epidemic.
Those companies who are thriving are implementing internal wellbeing schemes to make sure their employees are looked after. You don’t want to miss the boat and potentially affect your companies’ success.
So, with the help of employment experience experts Growth Partners, we’ve pulled together 5 methods you can try to better manage employee stress in your business.
Good working environment
It has been found that on average, 40% of UK employees spend a maximum of 15 minutes outside during the workday (excluding their commute to work), and only 22% spend a maximum of 30 minutes outside. Alarmingly, this is less time than prisoners, who have a designated hour per day to spend in the open air according to UN guidelines.
Considering that we spend most of our time at our desks, businesses need to ensure that the conditions we are working in are high on their priority list. Those offices with an abundance of natural light will on average have a 40% higher productivity rate and therefore sales will increase too. So, a good environment doesn’t just benefit the employee, but the employer too.
As well as having natural light and an open space to work in, comes the equipment that you use. Nothing is more frustrating than a slow computer, or a chair that doesn’t really fit your height. Yes, companies need to think about cutting costs, but make sure you’re not doing it at the expensive of your employee’s level of comfort.
Take the burden off your employees
One of the best ways to alleviate stress is by talking about it. This could be more formally, through your GP, or just by having a catch-up with a colleague at work. Regardless, by ensuring that your employees feel that they can talk to people at work will drastically improve their mentality in a positive way.
By identifying those who are struggling more can make their lives easier. If you can see that one colleague has too much on, help them by taking some of their work to lighten the burden. Little acts of kindness will go a long way, making them a cup of tea when they seem stressed, or just allowing them to talk through their worries will bring you closer as a team. The closer you are, the better you will work together, and therefore workloads will be shared out.
Invest in your management team
Unfortunately, employers are still less comfortable dealing with someone who has mental health problems than those who have a physical disability. But they need to realise what causes stress at work in order to help deal with it. The top causes are:
- Demands made on the employee
- Level of control employees have over their work
- Support staff receive from their managers
- Clarity of an employee’s role
- Nature of relationships at work
Managers need to be trained not only to deal with these issues, but to understand them. Without understanding them, they are less likely to empathise with the employees and therefore are less likely to support them.
If managers are seen to be embracing an open-door policy and encouraging employees to talk, those at a lower level will follow. They will become more relatable and therefore internal processes will run a lot smoother and productivity levels will increase.
Make sure your employees have a lunch break
42% of UK workers admitted to not taking their full hour lunch break, with 60% saying they only took half an hour. This coupled with the fact that one in four state that they eat lunch at their desk, with the reason of ‘I’ve got too much work on’ just shows how much of an issue this is.
Without a lunch break, and getting an adequate amount of nourishment, you can experience some negative effects on your health. These can range from feeling week, sluggish or a lack of concentration to a reduced attention span and the ability to process new information.
With the right food, your productivity levels can increase by 20%.
Employers should take this as an opportunity to increase sales. If you ensure that your employees have an hour, and that there is an option for them to be healthier, it will benefit you in the long run. One way of ensuring this is through giving out free lunches. It means that you are giving your employees a healthy option; whilst allowing them to socialise and de-stress.
Communicate Clearly and Often
As an employee, it is frustrating when you don’t know what’s going on. Having clarity over your role, the businesses expectations, their objectives and values makes a much nicer working environment. You are not second-guessing people’s motives and you know what you need to do to get the job done. Those people who are in the loop will understand how they contribute to the bigger picture; they will know their purpose.
One way of ensuring this is instilled in your company from the get-go is to encourage openness and honesty from your senior managers. If employees can see it being done from the top, they will be more likely to follow. Having a central place where everything is kept will also help, rather than having to ask various team members. If you can just go straight to the source yourself, it means cutting out the middleman and making everything a bit more accessible.
Are there tools out there that can help you reduce stress in the workplace?
Yes! Tools such as Growth Partner’s GrowthPro are ideal for businesses that want to not only reduce stress amongst the workforce, but improve overall employee engagement. By easing the burden on HR support, admin, payroll and pensions, businesses are gifted more time to focus on the important side of business management – the employees
In recognition of stress awareness month, Speech Pathologist, Martha Payne shares 8 effective tips on how to manage stress in your business
Being ambitious in your entrepreneurial journey is a positive thing, but then it precipitates stress, frustrations, and feelings of overwhelm. That is why you need to learn how to lower the impact of stress in your life. Below are 8 highly effective tips on how to manage stress in your business:
Rank your tasks
When you have so many tasks to attend to simultaneously, chances are that you will not do any of them to satisfactory standards. Lowered productivity and output is one of the leading causes of stress amongst business leaders. Instead of trying to do everything at once, it is advisable that you write down everything that you need to complete, rank them according to priority, and then focus on one task at a time. You won’t be overwhelmed by unnecessary tasks.
Technology can help you manage your employees, analyze sales, reach out to potential markets, and streamline operations in your businesses. Online scheduling, for example, will help you schedule meetings without needing a pen and paper. Technology will help you hire and manage remote employees, so you don’t have to worry about office space. It lowers your overhead costs. All these factors make technology an invaluable tool for reducing stress in business.
Invest in emotional monitoring
The fear of failure and the anxiety of an uncertain business landscape can take a toll on your emotional wellbeing. Maybe you need financial funding, but investors seem not to buy your idea. You now don’t feel like persisting anymore, but then you fear that giving up now will be the end of your entrepreneurial journey. If you are in a low-mood state, you might choose to quit persisting. If, on the other hand, you are in control of your emotions, you will be able to motivate yourself to continue pushing.
You are not getting anywhere despite your persistence? Take a short break and try again later. Stressing about the problem over and over will not offer you any solutions. Stepping out of the office for a cup of coffee or for a stroll at the park will refresh, calm you, and prevent burnout. Ideas will get clearer after that. If you don’t want to leave the office, watching a funny video or chatting with a colleague can help.
As much as you are a busy person these days, try your best not to break connections with your loved ones. Ensure that your relationship with your family keeps thriving even when you are chasing your entrepreneurial dreams. You won’t believe how helpful your spouse will be at soothing your stress when you feel overwhelmed.
Find help from a life coach
A life coach is not a mentor or therapist. A mentor will push you to succeed in business, a therapist will help you navigate different challenges in your life, but a life coach will do both and more. You just need to know how to find a life coach and most of your stress management issues will be tackled in a professional way. You should ask for a free consultation session with a life coach just to determine if the coach is a good fit for your needs or if you are comfortable opening up to them. Hire them if they make you feel at ease.
Focus on helping other people
Shift the focus from your problems and focus on helping other people overcome their challenges. That way, you spend less time worrying about the things you cannot accomplish. Also, knowing that you have helped someone or that you have mentored a junior employee in their professional life will bring you happiness and satisfaction. That is exactly what you need to keep stress at bay.
Unless you are pressed for time or you don’t have the resources needed to do it here and now, please don’t postpone it. Postponing today’s problems for tomorrow means that tomorrow’s problems will pile on today’s problem, and the pattern will continue. Your stress levels will only escalate. To counter this, you could try investing in time management courses in London and learn the fundamental aspects of successfully managing your time and boost your ability to get more things done each day.
If you wish to enjoy the many perks that come with owning your own business, you need to implement the 8 stress management tips we have discussed. The tips will also help you set the company on track and minimize the impact of the many downsides to business ownership and leadership.
For many businesses, the festive season turns out to be anything but merry. Holiday stress statistics show 54% of employees feel stressed leading up to the holidays. And the increased workload the Christmas season creates tops the causes of that stress.
But check out this good news. Adopt these strategies. And help you and your team manage the stress of the holiday season.
Read this list of tips and tactics. They help reduce holiday stress in your business. And keep stress low for your team as well.
Bring in Extra Help During the Festive Season
With permanent employees booking time off, at the same time the company experiences a surge in business, it’s hardly surprising many business owners and employees suffer ‘festive fatigue’ at this time of year.
One effective way of managing holiday stress is to hire extra helping hands at Christmas.
Help Alleviate Holiday Stress with a Christmas Party
There’s nothing quite like letting our hair down with colleagues at the end of the year than by having a Christmas party. This much-loved annual event has a multitude of stress management benefits, including giving employees the chance to mingle, giving them something to celebrate and making them feel valued and that they’ve helped achieve something worthwhile.
Get the Christmas Party Planning Done Early
Despite the many benefits of Christmas office parties, organizing the festive social gathering is not without its stresses. Eliminate this additional festive stress by ensuring the social engagements have been planned and ‘ticked off’ well before the bedlam of the festive season kicks in.
Get Christmas Gift Sending to Colleagues and Clients Out of the Way
Experiencing festive burnout by having too many things to do in a short space of time, is one of the holiday stress facts no small business can afford to ignore.
Similar to arranging the Christmas party well in advance, festive gifts should be sent to colleagues, customers, clients, partners and suppliers early, so it’s one less job to worry about during the busy festive period.
Pre-Plan Your Marketing Campaign
Christmas offers fantastic marketing opportunities, particularly for businesses operating in the retail, catering, leisure and food and drinks industries.
Another good stress management strategy to help reduce holiday stress caused by running marketing campaigns during this hectic time of year, is to pre-plan a marketing campaign.
For example, get blogs and social media posts written and scheduled well in advance, so you’re not having to use valuable employee time on such time-consuming activities.
Avoid Agreeing to Meetings
Holiday stress statistics show that up to 69% of people feel stressed due to having a “lack of time in the holiday period.
Even the most pedantic of clients won’t want to have a meeting scheduled on Christmas Eve. With a million and one things going on, the busy holiday season isn’t the time to schedule a month of back-to-back meetings.
Most meetings with clients and colleagues will be able to wait until the New Year, so don’t make the season busier than it needs to be.
Streamline Business Operations
Another key way of managing holiday stress is to streamline business operations throughout month of December.
Streamlining activities, such as turning inventory alerts on to notify you when certain stock is running low, is an effective stress management strategy that will help the festive season run smoothly and prevent stress overload from kicking in.
Tackle Festive Money Worries by Generating Additional Cash at Christmas
Check out another leading holiday stress fact. The festive season creates worry about money.
Read this survey carried out by the investment firm Principal Financial Group. It found 53% of people feel financially stressed at Christmas.
Do you worry about the financial impact Christmas has on your business? Aim to generate an additional cash flow by implementing strategies like festive sales. Other options include 2 for 1 offers. Or try introducing a special new festive product.
However, don’t wait for Christmas to put these strategies in place. Implement them well in advance. Then you won’t juggle too many tasks and suffer from festive burnout in the process.
Get help and focus on what’s important to manage stress.
- Failing to manage stress has serious repercussions for the individual and for his or her company. Stress has negative effects emotionally, mentally and physically if not managed properly.
- Stress management can be achieved by maintaining a good work/life balance and promoting best business practices.
- With stress management tools in place, businesses will benefit from fewer sick days, increased productivity and lower turnover rates.В
The challenges of owning a business aren’t always about hiring employees or satisfying customers. Sometimes, the struggles are a little more personal. And usually, the end result is stress.
Learning how to deal with stress may be as important to your long-term business success as learning how to make a profit. In fact, failing to manage stress can kill you, past studies have demonstrated.
Yet stress and business ownership go hand in hand. In a 2011 survey of small business owners, 65% say they are almost always on the go, and only half said they had enough time to spend with their friends and family.
Discovering the ideal work-life balance
“Finding the right work-life balance and giving back to the community are top priorities,” according to a statement from USBancorp, which conducted the survey.
However, creating that balance can be a real challenge, said Rosalie Moscoe, owner of Toronto-based Health in Harmony, a wellness consulting firm that specializes in helping workers deal with stress.
“When you’re in your own business, there are many things to think about that you didn’t have to worry about before,” Moscoe told Business News Daily. “Making loan payments, spending your savings, no money coming in and all your money going out.”
The personal struggles faced by small business owners are emotional, physical, mental and financial, Moscoe said.
There is little one can to do eliminate the issues that cause stress. You’ll most likely be working more hours than you were before, you’ll be overwhelmed and overworked. If you’re just starting out, you may also find starting your own business is lonely, which can also cause stress, Moscoe said.
Dangers of on-the-job stress
On the job, stress is linked to higher weight, and job stress is known to fuel disease. Women are more sensitive to stress than men and are more likely to be depressed by stress, another study found.
The key to managing stress is keeping a good balance between work and home, even if you work long hours. Moscoe makes these suggestions:
- Set a schedule as if you were going to a regular job.
- Plan out your day in the morning.
- Be clear with yourself about your top priorities, and focus on the ones that are going to bring in business.
- Initially, focus on marketing your business; don’t spend all of your time on administration.
- Keep reassessing your goals, and don’t let things get away from you.
- Get help. Don’t do it all yourself.
- Have a social support network of friends and family.
- Don’t sacrifice relationships for your business.
- Get up early and go for a walk.
- Eat properly and not at your desk.
- Drink lots of water.
“You have to live like a normal person,” Moscoe said.
What is stress management?
According to Mayo Clinic, stress management is “learning skills such as problem solving and time management, enhancing your ability to cope with adversity, improving personal relationships and practicing relaxation techniques.” These skills allow the person to turn a stressful situation into a positive opportunity for growth and betterment. By learning how to handle stressors, you gain more control over your life and reactions.
Work can be a great source of stress for many, but you must learn how to fight back when the negative feelings become overwhelming. Each person may have his or her own approach to managing stress. Some may find deep breathing helpful, while others may need to take a short walk to regroup.
Better business management for fewer incidences of work stress
Just as important as carving out time for yourself is finding ways to manage your business that will result in less stress.
“Without organization and good management, the compressed time schedules associated with modern business can cause stress and make extraordinary demands on people,” according to research by the Small Business Administration. “An effective management structure can reduce stress and channel the productive capacity of employees into business growth and profits.”
Finding employees who can share your responsibilities will go a long way to reducing your stress, too.
“The heroic single leader is no longer congruent with the burdening demands of today’s leadership,” said J. Richard Hackman, professor of social and organizational psychology at Harvard University, in a recent study on shared leadership.
“The most important conditions for effective shared team leadership include a team that is a mature and reasonably bounded group,” Hackman said. “They must know each other’s strengths and weaknesses in order to identify who to go to for specific tasks. The second condition is being interdependent on one another for some specific shared purpose or goal.”
Benefits of better managing stress
Moscoe also believes it’s important to keep your focus on why you started your business in the first place.
“It’s the hardest job in world,” Moscoe said.В “But you if you’re in your own business, you’ll feel you have control over how you’re going to do it and that’s the biggest factor in reducing stress.”
Stress management is good for you and your business. Without managing stress among employees, staff may take more sick days and have lower productivity. According to the Wellness Council of America, stress management produces improved employee morale, fewer sick days, less employee turnover and a positive company culture. Provide trainings and wellness programs to help you and your employees learn strategies to best manage stress levels.