The epidemic of overwork is acquiring monstrous proportions globally. While on one hand, the economy is looking up for most countries, a large chunk of the workforce still clocks 50-hour workweeks, without taking even as much as paid leaves. How does the woeful work-life balance reflect on one’s health? In a recent study by University of Bergen, those who worked longer hours and served in high pressure industries such as finance and healthcare, scored higher for psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, and OCD.
Stressed-out employees fall in different categories – some are frustrated, scream, pull their hair out, yet continue to do the same work over and over again, others shed tears while feeling unrecognized, while there are a few who fool themselves that they love working all the time, while stress is in fact getting to them slowly. Here we pick the top 5 stressed-out worker profiles – do you identify with any of these? If yes, it’s time to take charge now! All work and no play makes anybody’s life dull!
#1 The over-worked under-rewarded employee
Characteristics: Always buried neck deep in work (often times others’ work) – yet without the freedom to choose their work or even the way it should be done. There is a huge gap between your effort and recognition.
The solution? High-pressure jobs with low level of control make the perfect recipe for inviting psychological stress. The solution lies not in shunning work but in gaining control over the decision-making process – how you perform the tasks, in what time, who you should report to, what you can outsource, etc. Discuss your rewards openly and express your discontent, it might not work immediately, it will definitely make a difference in how people treat you and work towards better rewards, monetary or non-monetary in future.
#2 The secluded worker
Characteristics: Feels alone and left-out at the workplace – both in terms of help from bosses and relationships with co-workers.
The solution? Communicate clearly your practical and emotional needs and you will see the barriers bend. Your superiors will know what is keeping you from putting your best effort and they will get you the resources you need. On the personal front, connect with co-workers on team lunches/dinners, outings, social media networks, etc. and cultivate shared interests.
#3 The emotional labourer
Characteristics: Deals with demanding, often abusive customers while maintaining an outward persona of an uber-cool and calm professional. This profile is commonly seen in contact center agents.
The solution? Don’t take criticism from customers personally – remember, it’s part of the job but when it gets unnecessarily offensive, there is absolutely no need to accept such behavior, tell the customer it’s not acceptable.
#4 The technology-obsessed worker
Characteristics: Always (even if remotely) connected to work – on laptop, mobile, iPad, tablets, and umpteen other digital devices. No distinction between work and personal time and negligible work-life balance.
The solution? Techno-stress is a growing and serious epidemic and if you can’t unplug completely, try taking a tech-nirvana or break at least for a few hours every day. If you feel your work is too important and you can’t afford to miss even one email – get yourself a virtual assistant – one who can take care of your inbox, meeting schedules and other mandatory but mundane tasks so you can free up some time for yourself regularly.
#5 The on-the-verge-of-a-burnout frustrated employee
Characteristics: Works his/her tail off, often to the point of extreme exhaustion, with no appropriately skilled or trained resources to delegate / outsource to, resulting in frustration.
The solution? Have a heart-to-heart talk with your boss. Explain the reasons behind extreme fatigue and why you think you need a break. Ideally your boss should be able to give you the personal time you deserve or find a way to reduce your load and recommend you take a break to refresh your personal energies.