Under Pressure at Work

stressed out employee

by Emily Mason, Associate Director – Multilingual, Call Centre & Customer Care at Abrivia

Work and pressure are two terms that can be synonymous with each other and any individual who never encounters pressure at work is a rare find. Pressure comes from a variety of sources: targets, deadlines, performance reviews, financial debts – the list is endless. If you care about the outcome of a situation, it’s likely that you will feel pressure in some way, especially if you know your actions can influence the outcome.

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Whilst pressure can be a great motivator, it can also lead to stress and the negative effects of stress on physical and mental health are well-documented. As such, it’s extremely important that you manage any pressure that you feel in such a way that it pushes you to complete your tasks without filling your mind with negative thought processes.

  1. Breathe – as much as it might irritate you when someone tells you to just ‘calm down’ or ‘take a breath’ when you’re feeling under pressure, there is some truth to it. Sometimes it’s necessary to stand back and take a deep breath to calm yourself down before you can do anything productive.
  2. Clarify – it’s easy to feel like your ever-mounting pile of work is never going to get done and as such there’s no point in even trying. It’s likely that some of your tasks are small and can be completed quickly, and once they’re out of the way you can focus on bigger tasks with less stress. Remember, you can only do one thing at a time.
  3. Ask for help – nobody likes to admit that they can’t do everything by themselves but there is absolutely no shame in asking for help. A fresh pair of eyes or another pair of hands can make all the difference in the world when you’re feeling under pressure and allowing others to help you with your workload allows you to perform to your highest potential on your own tasks.
  4. Have perspective – no matter how seriously you take your work, no problem is ever really a matter of life or death (unless you’re a doctor). Things often tend to work themselves out in the end and any issues are never really as bad as they seem – perspective is everything.
  5. Take advantage – some people thrive under pressure, and if you follow the tips above you may be able to benefit from feeling the heat at work on occasion. Use your deadline to force you to get that report finished before the weekend instead of putting it on the long finger and having to face it on Monday morning. Think of your target as a reminder of that feeling of accomplishment of doing a job well.

Being under pressure doesn’t have to be a bad thing as long as you handle it the right way.

Take Away

How to work under pressure can be summed up into three steps:

  1. Maintain Control
  2. Evaluate the issue
  3. Execute the plan or prepare and execute the plan if no plan exists

The more you have to work under pressure, the better you get at it. This builds confidence that you can deal with anything that arises. This confidence can relieve the stress and help reduce the emotions that can come up when working under pressure.