How To Handle Pressure at Work: Steps and Helpful Skills

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Depending on your role and work environment, you may occasionally feel some pressure at work. It's important to learn about the different types of pressures you might experience so you can find out how to manage them. Learning how to handle pressure at work can help you overcome this challenge and succeed in your career goals. In this article, we explore how to handle work pressure, discuss types of pressure and list skills you may develop to help you.

How to handle pressure at work

Work pressure can display itself in different ways, so there are various steps on how to handle pressure at work. These steps include:

1. Identify stressful factors

The first step towards a solution is to pinpoint a problem to solve. A clear understanding of the cause of the pressure can make it easier to overcome. One way to start this step is to purchase a journal or notebook to record information about your workday. It's important to record your activities, thoughts and emotions at those various points, your colleagues and any other important person or function present in your workday.

After this activity, you can use the notes to assess your typical day at work. This can help you easily identify the moments or factors that lead to you feeling tense.

2. Prioritise your tasks

Using your notes, you can prioritise one task to focus on first. You can then create a solution to help you lower the pressure. For example, if you feel pressure in the morning to complete a lot of tasks, you might decide to arrive at work 10 minutes early to create a to-do list. This can help you start the day in a productive and calm way. Try to focus on one challenge at a time. For example, you might try this new routine for a week before returning to your list and choosing a new item to resolve.

Related: How to Problem Solve with Steps, Techniques and Skills

3. Consider self-care tasks

Consider developing a routine to help you manage pressure at work. For example, you might exercise or sleep earlier to help you start the day in a positive way. Developing healthy and positive habits may help you manage pressure effectively at work. Activities like meditation and spending time with family or outside of your workspace also have positive effects on the mind and its ability to tackle problems. You may also schedule a time to take breaks or take a walk. This can help you reset throughout the day.

Related: How to Make Time for Self-Care While Working from Home

4. Set limits for yourself

This step embodies knowing your work limit and setting adequate time out for resting. The tendency to over-perform and prove your efficiency can lead to increased pressure. Figuring out your personal work limit and deciding to stay within it can help you keep your morale high and improve your efficiency. To achieve this, you may set boundaries or limits for your work. This can include only answering calls or emails during certain hours, politely declining delegations from co-workers outside your job description and prioritising your sleep. Through this, you can also set limits within the workplace, reducing your overall pressure.

5. Ask for help

If applicable, consider asking for help when you need it. When you find it challenging to progress in a project or task in the workplace, you may seek help from your co-workers. You can also ask your manager for clarification or support if you have questions.

You may also ask for help in your personal network. If work pressure is building, you may reach out to your family and friends for emotional support. Sometimes improving your work-life balance and taking time to connect with others can help reduce pressure at work too.

6. Foster positive relationships with co-workers

Positive relationships in the workplace can help improve your morale and create a more positive environment. To encourage trust among your co-workers, you can try to foster good work relationships by utilising your interpersonal communication skills. This skill involves having to communicate ideas, thoughts and emotions to another person. By using this skill, you can build effective and healthy professional relationships.

Related: How To Build Relationships at Work: A Step-by-Step Guide

7. Take an objective approach

When confronted with a stressful situation, consider pausing before reacting because your perspective on these events can contribute to feelings of pressure. It's critical to approach each situation objectively. This can help you determine a professional and productive action to take. Consider removing yourself from a situation temporarily. This can help you find a solution and respond professionally.

8. Talk to your manager

Your supervisor may be able to help establish a work environment that promotes productivity and employee well-being. If you've identified factors that cause you pressure, you may communicate them to your supervisor so they can recommend tips on how to deal with them. They can also recommend employer-sponsored resources to assist. You may take advantage of employer resources, such as online information or consultation services, through an employee assistance program. They may also offer professional development courses to help you develop skills, such as time management and communication, which can help you manage your pressure at work.

Types of work pressures

Two types of workplace pressure play different roles in your everyday life. They include internal and external pressure.

Internal pressure

Internal pressure involves the pressure you place on yourself regarding your work. This, when done correctly, can be a positive factor. It can help you hold yourself accountable. It can also motivate you to achieve your goals and excel when given a task. If you feel too much internal pressure, it can lead to stress. It's important to learn how to handle pressure correctly so you can manage the amount you feel. By reducing some of your internal pressure, for example, but scheduling breaks and setting work boundaries, you may stay in a healthy range.

External pressure

External pressure involves the pressure placed on you or given to you by someone other than yourself. This type of pressure may occur when you work to meet deadlines or monthly targets. External pressure can also be a positive factor, as it can lead to motivation. Having a deadline and targets can help you work toward your goals. Too much external pressure can lead to stress, so it's important to manage it effectively. Strategies, like meditating, communicating your expectations and asking for help, can help you manage external pressure.

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Skills you can use to handle workplace pressure

Below are skills you can utilise to handle stressful situations at work:

Active communication skills

Communication skills are essential in any job because they allow you to convey thoughts and feelings effectively with words and actions. This could include communicating ideas to others clearly, listening carefully in conversations, providing and receiving constructive criticism, and speaking in front of large groups. That said, communication skills are important for managing stressful situations at work because you can actively communicate the situations that make you stressed. Contacting your human resources department regarding a stressful work situation can be helpful to ensure you stay productive at work.

Problem-solving skills

Problem-solving skills help you determine the source of a problem and find an effective solution. This skill is useful to assist you in identifying the source of your pressure and how to handle it. Also, knowing how to solve problems effectively can help minimise the sense of pressure you feel if your job involves creating solutions.

Relaxation techniques

Knowing relaxation techniques can help you minimise pressure during challenging situations. Mediation is one popular relaxation technique. To meditate, find a quiet and relaxing environment and assume a relaxed pose. Take deep breaths and remind yourself that you're in control of the situation. Meditation and deep breathing exercises may help you feel refreshed. Some professionals prefer to talk to a friend or take a walk. Consider trying a few different strategies to help you find ones that work for you.

Conflict management skills

Conflict management is the ability to bring peace to stressful situations, settle disputes and reach an agreement on which both parties can agree. To combat a conflict, you can employ a variety of strategies. Because conflict is an unavoidable part of any workplace, the goal of conflict management is to detect it quickly and handle it fairly and efficiently.

Time management skills

Practical time management skills assist you in organising your schedule, activities and commitments so that you can complete tasks on time. You can determine how long certain duties and responsibilities may take if you have good time management skills. One of the main causes of pressure at work is a lack of time and an inability to meet deadlines. Utilising your time management skills can help ensure you meet deadlines in time and you're up-to-date with your tasks and assignments.

Adaptation skills

When you're unable to remove a factor that's causing you to feel pressured, consider changing your response or actions instead. Reflect on what you're grateful for, set reasonable expectations for yourself and others, and keep the situation in perspective. Your ability to adapt to a stressful situation shows your resilience and resourcefulness.

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