Skip to main content

Keeping Your Cool in the Office - How to Avoid 'Losing it'

Written by: Morgan Hunt
Published on: 14 Jul 2014

People react to stress in different ways but any overreaction can positively or negatively affect the situation in question.

“Getting along with others is the essence of getting ahead, success being linked with cooperation.”

— William Feather

The workplace is a breeding ground for a myriad of emotions. Those moments when you’ve wanted to pound your hands through the keyboard in frustration or treat your monitor to a free flying lesson is no stranger to many. Given that stress affects one in five of the working population* and costs UK employers £1.24 billion in sick days – it should come as no surprise. We live in a highly volatile business world, especially recently with the impact of the recession.

So, what keeps your ‘Mr Hyde’ at bay? Of course violence towards office supplies isn’t the answer; you don’t want the reputation of the ‘one who flies off the handle’ every time an email doesn’t get sent out. There will always be times when something minor grates on you in the office. And, like others, your first instinct may be to get angry, snap, or lash out. Knowing how to handle these potentially demanding moments takes a level head, and more importantly, perspective.

It’s easier said than done but there is a way to get a handle on work related stress, here’s Morgan Hunts top tips for keeping your cool in the office;

1. Ask yourself, will I care about this in a year’s time?

Sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in the here and now, you lose perspective on what’s actually important. But the truth is, office niggles aren’t going to ruin your life, much less your day. This isn’t an excuse to become complacent about your job, it’s simply a technique that allows you to look at the bigger picture, don’t let the little things get you down because in the long run it’s not going to affect you.

2. It’s not personal, it’s business.

A lot of the time when you get negative feedback or your boss doesn’t like your idea it’s very easy to think this is some kind of personal attack but most of the time it’s not to do with you personally. Your colleagues aren’t as involved in thinking about you as you are, most of the time they’re thinking about their needs, their challenges and their daily stresses, keep reminding yourself it’s not all about you, it’s really about them.

3. Be mindful not to be mindful.

We’re all vulnerable to something called negativity bias, which means that the bad events of the day are more memorable than the good ones. You can choose to focus on the minor frustrations of your day—or, you can choose to focus on finding meaning in your work. Try changing tact when you start to feel tetchy. Instead of digging away at the project that’s getting you down, switch it up, work on the areas of your job that made you want to do it in the first place.

4. Ask why.

The best reaction to something negative is to engage empathy, by asking why you’ve angered them you’re intrinsically letting them know you care about what they think. This will not only demonstrate your ability to handle difficult situations but give you the chance to learn from them or at the very least, understand which gives immediately  and positively affects the tone of the conversation.

5. Reframe the situation.

Imagine this was your favourite TV show, how would your hero handle it? Seeing something through the eyes of someone else opens up a whole world of perspective and gives you the chance to see the funny side.

A more productive and happier you

Work will never be free from stresses or annoyances, but you’re always in a position to manage how well you handle them. If you do your best to maintain perspective when things get heightened, you’ll find yourself not getting bogged down by the details of the day, and instead, rising above them.

At Morgan Hunt our consultants work on a personal and consultative basis with our candidates. Get in touch with our team to find out how we can assist you with your job search.

*source – SMS Society