Work pressures this Christmas

We know that running or working in a small business can have its own unique set of pressures and strains that you need to manage on a daily basis.

There are many healthy ways to manage and cope with pressure; however they all require action from you.

Taking responsibility for yourself in a stressful situation can give you a feeling of greater control.

Remember that you have the option of either changing the situation or changing your reaction. Below are some tips that can help you achieve this.

Changing the situation

Express your feelings. If something or someone is causing you concern, communicate in an open and respectful way. If you don’t voice your feelings, resentment can build and the situation will not improve.

Be flexible, within reason. Focusing on what you can do, rather than what you can’t, can really turn the situation in your favour.

Be assertive when saying ‘No’. Saying ‘No’ doesn’t have to upset anyone, the way you say it can make all of the difference. Explain your position, for example if you are too busy to help out a colleague. If possible explain what you are able to offer in terms of assistance instead.

Manage your time. Plan ahead and make sure you don’t over promise on what you can achieve. This can put you in control and alter the amount of pressure you’re under.

Changing your reaction

Find a quiet place. If you feel pressure increasing, take yourself out of the situation and find a quiet place where you take a few moments to breathe deeply and calm down. You may find it useful to count to ten before going back to the situation.

Look at the big picture. Try to get some perspective on the situation. Ask yourself if it is worth getting upset over and frame within the wider business context.

Accept what is good enough. Trying to be perfect in every way is not achievable, and can often leave you feeling like you’re falling short of expectations. Give yourself a break. It’s OK to lower your expectations of yourself a little.

Know what you can change and accept that there are some things you cannot change. Some sources of pressure are unavoidable. In such cases, the best way to manage it is to accept things as they are and move forward.

Are you at risk of office burnout?

Britain’s small and medium sized firms make up 99.9% of the UK’s private sector businesses, employ nearly three-fifths of its workforce and account for 48% of the turnover.

But full-on pursuit of commercial success may be putting owners and employees of these businesses at increased risk of ill health and burnout. Described as a type of stress, office burnout can manifest itself as a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.

Unfortunately, long working hours are often embedded into SME culture. According to research*

  • 47% of employees in SMEs across the UK said they regularly work 4 or more hours of overtime per week
  • 29% of these put in 7 or more hours
  • For half (52%), the extra hours are unpaid

In addition:

  • Over half (54%) of employees have continued to work after putting children to bed
  • 27% have cancelled family time and 19% have missed a child’s event such as a school play
  • 21% of employees take fewer than 30 minutes for lunch

For more information, on health and wellbeing, please visit AXA Health