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Tips and Tricks to Manage Work Stress

co-workers shaking hands in the office

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and it’s never been more important to reflect on our emotional, psychological, and social well-being, particularly how we handle stress.

Due to the pandemic along with numerous other social and emotional stressors, Americans are confronting escalating mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. A major contributing factor to stress is work as mental health challenges are now the norm among employees across all organizational levels. According to a recent Harvard Business Review survey, 76% of respondents reported at least one symptom of a mental health condition in the past year, up from 59% in 2019.

We know that finding a job and maintaining work satisfaction can be tough. Job related stressors often rank near the top of the list for many people looking for work. To help, we put together some pointers as well as pro tips from the Skills team on managing stress from the interview process to starting a new job and even working through team transitions.

Preparing for Your Interview

  • Plan responses to common interview questions: Research the company and figure out why you want to join the organization, the value you can bring to the role, and why the company’s mission speaks to you.

Pro Tip: Practice saying your responses out loud. It will allow you to hear yourself and naturally deliver your responses more concisely and to the point.

– Phil D., Sr. Talent Acquisition Lead at Skills

  • Test the technology: Today, employers are looking for tech-savvy candidates, even for non-technical roles. Download the software and make sure everything is working (sound, video, etc.) before a virtual interview.

Pro Tip: When it’s time for your interview, log in ten minutes early so you don’t run into any last-minute technical difficulties. It will also allow you the time to double check all interview details, make sure your room is well-lit, and ensure your entire face can be seen on the camera – those will all help you make a great first impression and eliminate any pre-interview jitters.

– Eddie R., Sr. Talent Acquisition Lead at Skills

  • Be yourself: Recruiters and hiring managers are looking to see if you’d be a good fit for their company’s culture. Be sure to dress to impress and show your enthusiasm for the role through your responses.

Starting Your New Job

  • Prepare for your first day: From packing your lunch to doing more thorough research of the company (including their social media channels to better gauge the office culture and appropriate dress), you’ll feel less nervous if you’re well prepared and informed as you step into your new role.

Pro Tip: Get ahead of your first-day stress by practicing your commute! Remember, practice does not make perfect, practice makes permanent. Check your train, bus, drive, or rideshare schedule to make sure you know what train/bus you may need to transfer from, or how crowded traffic is. If you’re working in an unfamiliar location, be sure to ask which door to enter on your first day and how to properly check in.

– Jay C., Sr. Manager of Career Pathways at Skills

  • Get acclimated with the new office and your co-workers: Introduce yourself frequently and prepare a brief introduction of yourself. If working in-person, take the time to get to know your office environment: where people/departments are located, where to locate office supplies, etc.

Pro Tip: When introducing yourself, use the Tell Me About Yourself Formula: Share about your new role and why you applied, your last role/company, and what you’re looking forward to with the new role/company. It’s a simple way to organize your thoughts and not talk in circles.

– Yesenia P., Program Manager of Career Pathways & Training at Skills

  • Establish good habits and find your working groove with your boss and co-workers: The first few weeks is the perfect opportunity to decide how you want to organize your workspace and manage your time. Clarify mutual expectations with your boss, how you’ll work together, and communicate what resources you need to succeed.

Managing Transition Within Your Team

  • Problem solve: When a co-worker leaves your team or company, it can be unnerving as you try to fill in the gaps of how to tackle tasks or new questions. Identify internal (strengths, talents, skills, experience, motivation) and external resources (Google is your friend), and don’t be shy to ask a co-worker for help. Be open with your manager or boss on what challenges you’re facing and if you need additional support.

  • Take the time to re-evaluate your role: When was the last time you looked at your job description – when you were hired? Use this time to review your tasks and responsibilities again. If you feel the timing is right to take on more, let your boss know.

Pro Tip: Don’t burn yourself out! You should not feel the need to take on more work if a coworker leaves; simply look at the possibility of utilizing all your skills to see where you may be able to branch out.

– Jay C., Sr. Manager of Career Pathways at Skills

  • Address your stress in a healthy way: Transitions can be tough, but don’t let it get to you! Be aware of your own feelings and emotional reactions and take time reflect on them. Tackle any external factors that could be contributing to your stress, such as not eating right, getting enough sleep, or not exercising regularly. Take time to talk to someone, whether it’s a family member, friend our professional – you’ll feel better once you get it off your chest.

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