Two Tips To Let Go and Reduce Stress At Work

Two “Letting Go of Stuff” tips to reduce stress at work:

Tip One – Have a walking meeting
Tip Two – Take a responsible play break from your work

Tip One
Have A Walking Meeting

Instead of holding your meetings in the same old conference room and breathing the same old stale air, take a walk. Get everyone together, have them bring their pads & pens, and head outside for some fresh air. A walking meeting can be exhilarating and reduces stress. It also gets the creative juices flowing.

If there is a park nearby, go there. If not, have everyone drive to the nearest park. Its a healthy alternative to having a meeting at a restaurant and less time consuming.

Schedule the morning meeting at the park rather than the office. Once everyone arrives, take a walk and take care of business at the same time.

If you have a balcony outside the office, then take some chairs out there and have the meeting. The goal is to do something vastly different to help reduce the stress and pressure of every day woes; and that will spark creative thinking. In the process, morale will also increase, which is a great benefit.

Tip Two
Take Responsible Play Breaks Every Two Hours

Since 1994, I have worked from home. In doing so, not only is it important to be disciplined and focused, it is equally important to take what I call “play breaks.” These “play breaks” last about three to five minutes. For example, I have a trampoline that I will jump on for about five minutes several times a day. Do something that will shift your focus and increase the oxygen to your brain. That focus shift and fresh oxygen to the brain will make a big difference in your day. Remember, it is okay to take a break, as long as it is done responsibly.

Prior to 1994, when I worked in an office setting outside the home, I kept little toys that I could easily play with in between doing my work. It helped. It also reduced stress in big way. Examples of little toys are a yo-yo, bouncy balls, squeeze toys, 3-5 pound dumb bells (for a smart person like you), and the like.

If you have an active game you enjoy like, basketball or air hockey, then get a small goal that hangs on the door of the office and shoot some hoops from time to time (or use a trash can). For the entire office, get an air hockey game (or the like) and put it in the break room. It will help to increase the morale of the employees if they can take “play breaks,” while at work.

As long as deadlines are being met for clients and the play breaks taken responsibly, there is no harm in having a fun “play break” items in the office break room for folks to enjoy. It can be a morale booster.

Letting Go of An Employee? Consider This…

Letting go of an employee is something “not” to take lightly, as most know. There are many, many considerations before you potentially destroy someone’s life and family by letting them go through termination. PLEASE, be very thoughtful about it during these challenging times.

A termination, regardless of your personal feelings for the employees, must be ethical, genuine, and based on evidence that supports the decision.

Before letting go of (terminating) an employee ask the following questions.

  • Is my decision to terminate based on an individualized assessment of this employee’s performance or abilities OR am I being influenced by stereotypes or perceptions?
  • Do I have a legitimate business reason for the termination? What is it?
  • Do I have a documentary record supporting my decision? Is it accurate and complete?
  • Is this termination consistent with company policy?
  • Has the employee been made aware of performance issues and given an opportunity to correct them? Are efforts by management to obtain satisfactory performance and lack of response by the employee documented?
  • Have I involved the human resources department, especially where a situation appears to present difficult personnel issues or the potential for legal action?
  • Is the termination decision going to come as a surprise to the employee? If so, why?
  • Has the employee made any complaints, charges or grievances that would affect the company’s right to terminate this employee? (sexual harassment, wage/hour overtime pay, failure to accommodate a disability, etc.)
  • Is the employment at-will or are there some limitations on the right to terminate?
  • How is the employee likely to react to the termination?
  • Am I prepared to conduct an exit interview?
  • Has the company obtained legal advice? Does the possibility of a legal claim, if the person is a member of an otherwise protected class, warrant getting legal advice before the termination occurs?


Letting Go Of Work Stress Before Getting Home

I was recently asked the following question. What follows is my response.

How do I let go of personal disappointments in my career and not take it out on my family?

You are not alone. Many people have trouble separating work frustrations from the peacefulness of home. Home should be a place where you find refuge from the challenges and stressors related to work. There are two periods in which we hold on to disappointments at work. One is during break, immediately after the event occurs. The other time is during the drive from work to home.

During that immediate drive – from work to home, we replay, in our minds eye, the stressful events at work. Sometimes we replay situations for many weeks, months, and even years after they happen at work.

Here are some tips that will help.

For the daily drive (or bus/train ride) home:

1.     Use deep breathing techniques for at least three minutes shortly after you begin the drive home.

2.     Spend five minutes envisioning what will make you happy, peaceful, and joyous once you get home. Doing this will allows you to transition from the work environment to home.

3.     Play your favorite music, and/or call home. Call home and talk to your significant other and/or children. Do whatever will relax you and take your mind off work. Don’t listen to talk radio or other radio shows that will invoke negative feelings.

For generally Letting Go of Stuff® at work:

1.     Do not personalize what happens at work. More often than not, decisions made that affect you, are not specifically about you.

2.     Focus your energy on what you can control. Many people will put energy in to asking and answering the question – WHY? – about what happens at work.

3.     Focus on taking positive action. In other words, don’t let one disappointment keep you from continuing to be as honest, pleasant, and uplifting as possible at work. You may find that setting positive goals to do this will keep you focused on moving forward rather than stuck in a rut.

4.     If there is someone at home who can help, then ask this person to support you in not bringing “stuff” home. I call this person the “stuff spotter.” You have to be willing to allow them to say this and you not react defensively – otherwise, getting the support will not work.

5.     Maintain a good balance among the various activities in your life.

Finally, what works well for me, and I also recommend it to my clients, is to keep a personal journal. In the journal you can release, through writing, some of your frustrations related to disappointments at work. When you journal, you also provide a way to track your emotional growth. It is empowering to see yourself grow as you let go of old unwanted habits and take on new desired behavior – on purpose.

Take care.
Darren L Johnson
the Letting Go Pro