Although the economy has shown gradual signs of improvement, on-the-job pressure is mounting for some supervisors, a new OfficeTeam survey suggests. Thirty percent of managers interviewed said they are more stressed at work today than they were one year ago; just 11 percent indicated work-related pressure has declined. In addition, 28 percent of respondents expect their anxiety levels to increase in the coming year, compared to 8 percent who anticipate reduced stress.
The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,000 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees.
Managers were asked, “How is your stress level at work now compared to one year ago?” Their responses:
|About the same||59%|
Managers also were asked, “Do you think your stress level at work will be higher or lower in the coming year?” Their responses:
|About the same||64%|
“Professionals at all levels are working harder and assuming more responsibilities as a result of companies relying on leaner teams,” said OfficeTeam executive director Robert Hosking. “Managers, in particular, may be feeling the heat as they strive to keep employees motivated and productive with limited resources.”
In fact, according to Workplace Redefined: Shifting Generational Attitudes During Economic Change (http://www.roberthalf.us/workplaceredefined), a study from the company, 37 percent of employees believe they are not being fairly compensated for having taken on a greater workload in recent months.
OfficeTeam identifies five common causes of workplace stress and tips for coping with them:
1. ‘There aren’t enough hours in the day!’ You may feel overwhelmed because your duties have expanded beyond a reasonable level. Have an honest conversation with your manager about your workload, and don’t be afraid to ask for assistance. He or she can help set priorities, delegate projects or bring in interim assistance.
2. ‘I’m in over my head.’ You’ve been given more advanced responsibilities and received limited instruction or oversight. Request training opportunities, and seek mentors who can help you learn the ropes. If you’re managing others for the first time, be sure to delegate; often new supervisors are reluctant to do so.
3. ‘I’m lucky just to have a job … and scared to lose it.’ Like many professionals, you’re worried your position, too, could be eliminated. Don’t jump to conclusions. Discuss with your supervisor your role in the department and whether the company’s goals have shifted. Make yourself indispensable by focusing your efforts on the most critical projects that help your firm boost its bottom line, and show your initiative and expertise by volunteering for new assignments.
4. ‘Politics are rampant in my office.’ In an uncertain economy, many professionals feel it’s necessary to do whatever it takes to stand out from their colleagues. As a result, some may resort to sabotaging the efforts of others or stealing the limelight from their more deserving team members. Rather than fixating on the actions of others, focus on doing the best work possible and maintaining your integrity. Make sure all your contributions are visible by speaking up in meetings and providing your manager with regular status reports. If problems persist, a discussion reinforcing the importance of collaborating on team goals may be necessary.
5. ‘My manager is driving me crazy.’ Your boss is a micromanager who closely monitors your every move. Determine if you’ve done anything to undermine his or her confidence. If you’ve given your supervisor any reason to doubt your abilities or dedication, make changes to improve the relationship. For example, offering frequent project updates may provide the reassurance your boss needs.
OfficeTeam is the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. The company has more than 320 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.officeteam.com.