Is Work Stress Hurting Your Family Life?

stressed-ball-squeezeHas your boss ever put an extra task on your plate because they had to disperse the work due to a round of layoffs?

You shake your head because you wonder why (put co-workers name here), who loves his hourly coffee breaks, didn’t get the extra work. You can’t complain now because you don’t want to be a part of the next round of layoffs.

Stress plays a huge role in whether or not you are happy at work. When you are unhappy you often take these feelings home with you.

Tough Times

The more a company cuts back during these tough times, the more pressure employees feel to perform with less. Marketing budgets are slashed and upper management wonders why the sales aren’t coming in. IT budgets are slashed and upper management wonders why the computer systems crash.

Have you noticed what your mood is like with your friends and family after a tough day’s work? You can’t let work dictate how you treat your family.

I like to believe that many companies care about this, but most don’t. They want high productivity on a stretched dollar. I hope to change much of this thinking through this blog. It’s all about taking things one day at a time.

Company Priorities

Companies should care about their employees’ family lives, because employees who treat their families well are more likely to treat their co-workers well. If we help people improve their personal and professional relationships, the company wins too.

I found a great quote in an article from eScience News:

“Choice is turning into expectation at most companies built upon the “team work” model, with pressures coming from project teams, responsibility for meeting profit or production targets, imposed deadlines and employees left to manage their own careers. A separate study at a software engineering firm, for example, determined that interdependent work patterns, ‘a crisis mentality,’ and a reward system based on individual heroics led to ‘inefficient work processes and long working hours.’”

The more pressure we feel, the worse we perform. We are trying to thread a needle going 50 mph. We might hit it 1/1000 times. The other 999 misses make us feel like crap.

Stress and Feelings

That’s why feelings are so important in business. If we try our hardest and all we get are looks of disapproval, we stop trying. We go into work expecting to feel uncomfortable. A lot of people end up taking out this discomfort on their families.

Working long hours isn’t the answer to getting all the work done. This only causes more stress. There needs to be expectations that people can meet, so they feel productive.

“In the future, van Echtelt and her team hope that businesses will value their ‘employees more for their efficiency and relational skills and less for their crisis mentality and working long hours.’”
– escience news

My wife is a counselor at a middle school, she deals with a lot of stressed out students and teachers. Many teachers come to her to vent. One teacher was feeling so overwhelmed that she broke out in a rash. She told me that from reading my articles my wife gave the teacher the advice that I often give here.

Stop trying to do too much and focus on the important stuff.

The teacher stopped taking her work home and actually found that she still got everything done. She became more efficient with her time and was a lot less stressed. She was still able to get all the grading done, organize her room, and plan for the next day. She stayed focused (focus is a huge part in developing your superpowers) on her work at work instead of being able to fall back on taking the work home if she had any left over.

If your company reset their expectations, allowing you to focus on only the most important projects would you go home happier?

What do you think your company could do to lower your stress levels?

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* Steven wrote an awesome post called, 56 Things I Wished I’d Known When I was Younger.  We all wish we could turn back time, but it’s even better to learn from our past experiences and make smarter decisions moving forward.

If you enjoyed this post then you will probably like these too:

> How to Discover Your Superpowers

> 7 Ways to Bring More Positivity to Your Career

Image courtesy of bottled_void

13 thoughts on “Is Work Stress Hurting Your Family Life?”

  1. I think the important thing here is that it’s not up to the company to lower individual stress levels. Sure they can offer helpful programming, people like you and me can provide guidance and suggestions, but at the end of the day, it’s up to the person to make decisions and take personal responsibility for their stress and how they choose to respond. Sounds like the teacher you refer to above did just that. Thanks in part to your work! Hope you’re doing well.

  2. I agree with Stacey here. At the end of the day, we determine how we feel about our work circumstances. In fact I am dealing with this right now; increasingly I am being given more and more responsibilities that are completely out of the scope of my job description. At first I was unhappy about this and it was stressing me out. And then one day I decided to shift how I looked at my work since I didn’t see my work duties shifting anytime soon. The stress is gone. 🙂

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  4. Karl,

    First of all, I love this analogy…”We are trying to thread a needle going 50 mph. We might hit it 1/1000 times. The other 999 misses make us feel like crap.” That’s great!!!

    Since I work at home now…it’s all up to me:~) However, it is still a balancing act. As I tend to often take on more than I can handle, even at home, I’m the one who has to rein in myself regarding stress and work exhaustion. I kind of agree with Stacey, it’s up to me to find ways to get what I want done without driving myself crazy:~)

    Great post and thanks:~)

  5. Hi Karl,

    I agree with you. I think that companies should take a genuine, demonstrable interest in treating their employees well and support them to work effectively and with dignity. As the saying goes, “charity begins at home” and in this case it means that if companies can’t be bothered to model the appropriate behaviour and treat their own employees well, why would they expect employees to then treat clients or their coworkers with care and respect? I might add that a corporation that is willing to take some financial cuts or freezes at the top of the chain so that the rest of the machine can still work effectively is a darned good move for engendering loyalty and respect as well.

  6. This is so true – I hated working for someone else, the fear of losing my job always kept me on edge. Now I have my own online business and I love what I am doing.

    Thanks for the article – Good stuff!

    Brian M Connole
    HCG Diet 411

  7. Hi Stacey, I agree as well. Individuals need to take responsibility for their stress. The problem that I see is that companies encourage people to push through stress instead of dealing with it. The companies that are more willing to be open about people’s stress levels the happier and more productive they will become.

  8. Hi Sue, Great point. Companies expect great results, but don’t develop the systems to make it possible. Loyalty is so important to developing a great company. The more companies realize this the better performance they will get out of their people.

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