Summer Survival series, Week 3: Managing Summer Work Stress
A focus on putting aside the guilty feelings of working, guilt from going on vacation, how to handle covering for co-workers without getting overwhelmed, and learning to relax while juggling work and summer obligations.
To help avoid this type of summer stress, here are a few things to consider doing when you find out your co-worker(s) will soon be out of the office for summer vacation and you are left to cover for them:
– Be sure to get all the information you need about your co-worker’s job, deadlines, clients, projects, etc., which you will need to cover for them in their absence. Not having necessary information, and not being able to contact your co-worker to find out the information, can cause a lot of unnecessary stress. You may think you know your co-workers job, but in actuality, you may not.
– Ask your co-worker ahead of time about their workload and what will be expected or asked of you. If it appears that it may be more than you can handle, speak with them or your supervisor. It’s better to address a problem, before it becomes a problem, rather than just expect to be stressed out over it and suffer the consequences.
– Make you know how to get files or other materials you’ll need to cover for them. Who to contact for what and their contact information. This can save a lot of time and headaches when problems or urgent situations arise.
– Set goals for what you want to get done the week your co-worker will be absent. Make a detailed to-do lists, and update it on a daily basis. Make sure you know all deadlines and work towards meeting those goals because staying on track helps prevent stress. If you have specific tasks to do to cover for a co-worker, avoid procrastinating or putting them off until the last minute, risking that they might not get done and reflect poorly on your co-worker. Remember that you will need them to cover for you on your vacation when that time comes and you’ll want to feel confident that they will do so to the best of their ability.
– If you feel resentful about having to carry your co-worker’s load in their absence, you feel they don’t deserve your help, or that your employer is expecting too much from you, ask God for an extra dose of grace for dealing with this situation. Trust that your hard work and dependability will not go unnoticed.
– Don’t let someone take advantage of you, and say ‘no’ when warranted. Let colleagues know how much advance notice you will need if they want you to cover for them so you’ll have time to organize your own work to accommodate time for theirs. If a co-worker seems to abuse your willingness to cover for them, make time to speak with them about your concern. Also remember to be considerate of your co-workers in this way as well. Treat others as you would wish to be treated.
– Even when work is calling and you are feeling overwhelmed, try to make time for yourself. Take a break when needed. Get a breath of fresh air. Talk a walk around the block. Eat healthy foods. Take a mini break to check Facebook or Twitter. When you feel your best, your work will show it.
– If you begin to feel super stressed, or overly anxious about all that needs to get done or extra hours you are being required to work, commit to spending some time in scripture or reading an inspirational book before or after work. Ask God to help your heart be at peace when work is chaotic, for the ability to get it all done, and to help you remain cool, calm and collected until the vacation storm passes.
Work is stressful enough without having to carry an extra load during co-worker’s vacations. But stress doesn’t have to get out of control even when it seems the workload is. It might help to simply remember that “this too shall pass”. Smiles.