Universiteit Leiden

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Dossier

Pressure of work

As a result of the coronavirus measures, everyone will be working (largely) from home in the coming period. Working at home affects not only the way you work but also - positively or negatively - the pressure of work you experience. This kind of stress comes into play at the point when your workload and your ability to cope are no longer in balance.

Additional stress of working at home

Extra stress caused by working at home can arise because the dividing line between work and private life blurs, we are having to deal with managing people and activities from a distance and we are driven by current developments, which means that a lot of things have to be done in a very short time. To add to this, we also have limited contact with colleagues and the contact that we do have is different, so we are less able to help one another. How can we make sure that the pressure of work doesn't get too high, or perhaps even too low? 

The University believes it is important that staff are able to enjoy their work and can work freely; our aim is to keep the pressure of work at a manageable level. Healthy University@Home offers tips for staying in control of how you experience work stress. It's also important that you take responsibility yourself for maintaining the right balance between work stress and work satisfaction. This starts with flagging up any issues and feeling able to discuss them. Your colleagues, your manager or one of the confidential counsellors can help with this.  

Here are some tips and tricks and ideas for support to help you manage your work pressure: 

  • Keep up your energy levels

When the pressure of work increases, we tend to want to lower the pressure, but in the present crisis there's a good chance that you can do very little to reduce it. What you can do is to use the resources you have available that give you energy.

  • Make sure you plan and structure your working activities

People working at home run the risk that work and private life blend into one another. Build some structure into your day and your working activities, and try to create a good balance between your private life and your work. 

  • Dare to say no

Not every job needs to be done straight away. Ask whether there might be an alternative, and discuss the options. It's good to be there to help colleagues, but you can take this too far.

  • Listen to your body

Create moments of relaxation: these could be anything from enjoying a cup of tea in the sun or receiving some extra attention from a colleague. 

  • Keep overtime to a minimum

Take enough breaks, even if you don't think you have time for them. If you are constantly working overtime, there must be a structural problem. Talk to your manager about it. 

  • Ask for help and pay one another a compliment

Colleagues and managers won't always notice when the pressure of work is too high, but you can be an important source of support for colleagues in such busy times. Providing social support, paying one another a compliment or lending a listening ear are all important ways to support one another.  

Help your colleagues cope with work pressure via Leiworks

Many of our colleagues have never been so busy, while for others the opposite is true. They are unable to do their work from home or they do have work to do but see their work diminishing. Maybe you have some time to help other colleagues? Or you have some tasks that you can relatively easily pass on to colleagues? Get in touch with Leiworks to register your availability or the tasks you would like to have done.

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