Occupational stress can affect anyone at any time, so it is important to understand how to manage it for the sake of yourself and your wider company

Occupational stress refers to the ongoing and progressing stress experienced due to responsibilities, conditions, environment, or other workplace pressures.

Occupational wellness or ‘occupational health’, on the other hand, is the sense of fulfilment and happiness that those at the C-Suite level can find in their professional life.

Loving your job and having a poor sense of occupational wellness aren’t mutually exclusive. Leading your team can sometimes be challenging when finding the motivation to roll out of bed and motivate others.

Ways to reduce occupational stress and ensure personal wellbeing

That being said, there are ways that senior and leading executives can stay motivated when managing a team or workforce:

Set yourself Key Performance Indicators

By setting Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s), you’re able to align your team with multiple ambitious goals that are designed to enhance motivation. The beauty is they allow you to not only set broad objectives but also to think of each key step needed to accomplish a certain goal.

By having something to work towards, you are more likely to stay on track and be more motivated to hit the ground running. Set objectives that are challenging and inspiring for you and your team.

Be sure to reward yourself

It’s important to give yourself a pat on the back when you’ve been successful in your role. It can be easy as a leader to focus all your energy on celebrating your team’s achievements while allowing your own to fall by the wayside.

Maintain a work/life balance

Having a healthy balance between your working and personal life is essential in preventing yourself from becoming demotivated and burnt out from occupational stress. This most certainly applies to leaders. When you’re running around catering to everyone else’s needs, it’s easy to forget your own.

If you neglect to find a healthy balance between the two, you’ll soon find yourself running out of puff.

Woman stretching while working at home during pandemic lockdown

Recognise when to delegate tasks

Whether it is five or fifty people working within your team, leading a team will always involve carrying additional pressures and responsibilities on your shoulders. If you find yourself lacking the motivation to complete a task that your team members are capable of handling themselves, don’t be afraid to delegate.

Just because you’re leading a team does not mean you’re a superhuman capable of finishing everyone’s work. Try not to be so hard on yourself. Too many responsibilities can suffocate creativity and force you into a downward spiral of demotivation. In these instances, brainstorming and problem-solving techniques are at an all-time low, and your teams will wander aimlessly.

Find joy outside of work

Starting a new hobby, spending time with family and friends, and taking time out to go on holiday can bring great joy to life outside work. Not only that, but activities outside of work can also impact your outlook on your working life, providing you with new skills and experiences that you can call upon, helping you to feel more positive and confident in your job and enabling you to tackle challenges better.

Joy outside of work also acts as a reminder that life is more than just a day job.

Become a mentor

It’s no secret that, over time, our work can become a little stagnant and repetitive. Finding that passion you had on the first day of the job can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. That’s why we recommend spending time with someone who is just getting started.

Guiding, mentoring, and passing on your experience to someone new can help clear out any cobwebs and provide a sense of motivation for the kind of work you do. Watching someone learn and grow within your team is an inspiring feeling in itself.

As a leader, it’s essential to keep employees pumped up and ready to work. However, without your own motivation, your team’s overall performance will start to decrease.

No matter who they are or what they do, every person can have an off day. There’s nothing wrong with losing heart, feeling tired or drifting away from your work for a period of time, so long as you know how to motivate yourself to get back on track.

The importance of investing in your company culture

Investing in the careers of employees and the workforce and understanding their goals is key to healthy company culture and fosters loyalty and motivation.

Think of your employees as people — whole people, with financial, physical, and emotional needs. Healthy employees are better employees. Prioritise their holistic well-being, and company culture will reap the benefits.

Facilitating strong relationships within a team ensures that work becomes more than just a workplace but a place to collaborate with like-minded people all working towards the same goal.


Written by Alex Hattingh, Chief People Officer, Employment Hero


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