Have you ever experienced high blood pressure, frequent Headaches, decreased energy, Insomnia, digestive or appetite problems and difficulty in concentration or depression? If yes, how often have you experienced one or more of these symptoms?
Stress is a particular relationship between the person and the environment. Stress is a physical and emotion reaction to any change, conditions and circumstances in which the requirements exceed the capabilities, resources or needs of the individuals (Janipha, Mustapha, & Ismail, 2012). Stress can influence all people in different jobs, especially in consultancy. The most important sources of stress are intrinsic stressors (e.g. workload, time pressure or shift work), relationship at work (e.g. conflict with other colleagues or supervisors, poor communication, lack of social support), role in the organization (role ambiguity, role conflict), organizational structure and climate (e.g. lack of autonomy, lack of opportunity to participate in decision making) and work-life conflict (e.g. conflict between domestic and work roles) (Kenny & Cooper, 2003).
Consultants might experience many of these stressors in their job. On the one side, consultants have to travel a lot and be on call for the customers, discover and analyze the problems of others, try to solve the problem in the best ways possible and having too much responsibility especially as a senior consultant in order to deliver best results or even in the private life. On the other side, some customers can be very demanding, they might have unrealistic expectations, unreasonable demands or deadlines of accomplishing tasks and therefore, consultants might be under stress.
Stress affects different people in different ways. Stress can have individual, organizational and behavioral consequences:
On the individual level, stress can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, tension headaches, anxiety, depression, sleepless, increased smoking or drinking (Quick & Henderson, 2016).
On the organizational level, stress can result in employee absenteeism, turnover, burnout, poor job performance and reduced productivity (Manning & Preston, 2003). Hence, it is important to manage stress at work and also in the private life.
Here are some tips to manage stress:
- Analyze the situation and develop an active plan to minimize the stressor.
- Break projects into small steps.
- Clarify your tasks.
- Set priorities: Decide about the order of your tasks.
- Manage your time, avoid over scheduling.
- Set realistic deadlines.
- Share responsibilities and renegotiate deadlines.
- Accept your limitation: Learn to say no to new tasks if they are overloading your schedule.
- Accept that you cannot solve all the problems.
- Schedule your time for healthy and relaxing activities.
- Try to resolve conflict with others.
- Try to accomplish one task instead of doing several tasks simultaneously.
- Resist perfectionism.
- Ask for support when needed.
- Seek out social support.
- Improve communication with others.
- Get enough sleep.
To sum it up, it is important for everyone, especially for consultants to manage their stress in order to have a better life, higher level of job satisfaction, job performance, productivity and improved sense of well-being.
Try out different tips listed here and see what works better for you. We wish you much success at work as well as a happy and stress free life.
Kenny D. T. & Cooper C. T. (2003) Introduction: occupational stress and its management. International Journal of Stress Management, 10(4), 275–279.
Janipha, N. A. I., Mustapha, A. A., & Ismail, F. (2012). Workplace stress amongst consultants in practice. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 68, 183-191.
Manning, D. & Preston, A. (2003). „Organizational Stress. Focusing on Ways to Minimize Distress“, CUPA-HR Journal, 54(2), 15-18.
Quick, J., & Henderson, D. (2016). Occupational stress: Preventing Suffering, enhancing wellbeing. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(5), 459.
Titel: Too much work