The more high-energy a logistics solutions job position, the greater the demands it brings and do-or-die situations it manifests—and the more likely it is to cause stress. The direct relationship between stress and job performance is easy to see when it's out of balance: meltdowns, snapping at coworkers, burning out. But it's also difficult to spot a balance that's actually working.
What techniques do successful business stars use when they're confronted with product issues, the need for innovative logistics solutions or growing pains in a new company? Here are a few shortcuts to office zen that you need to know, right now.
1. Aim for Spikes, not Plateaus
Shape a workplace or workflow around bursts of stressful tasks, not a sustained high-energy demand.
Even if you don't operate well against a deadline, chances are you know a coworker that really pulls out all the stops when the clock is running out. Others, however, absolutely dissolve in panic when crunch time rolls around. Why are these two reactions so different? The answer comes in longevity.
Essentially, the longer a period of stress is, the less a body and brain is physiologically equipped to handle it. Conversely, short active bursts of stress actually help improve productivity and capability in business leaders and their teams. Travis Bradberry explains to Forbes that short, intermittent bursts of stress have been shown to coax the brain into producing the cells that assist memory, helping improve your performance on a given task.
This benefit stretches and essentially breaks when pushed to the limit for too long— the optimal performance-stress ratio line looks more like a heart monitor and less like a series of high plateaus. A sudden last-minute report amid an otherwise dependable workload will get far better results from most employees than a work environment where they must be "always on." Even though the report itself may be stressful, it manifests as an intermittent spike, and the normal workload surrounding it has helped to build a coping mechanism.
2. Provide Outlets for People Power
Energy and stress relief shouldn't be resources that are only found outside the office. Cultivate "burn off" solutions to turn to during the workday.
If your office is a tangle of constantly-ringing phones, piles of invoices and split-second decisions, centering your chi is likely not on your to-do list, but maybe they should be. Peter S. Goodman of the Huffington Post highlights an unlikely trend hitting even the most traditional busy offices: meditation and yoga.
Office managers and CEOs alike have seen the undeniable effect of offering regular, optional classes in these calming arts during the workday, sending staff back to their desks with better coping skills. Psychologist Lesia M. Ruglass agrees, in the Huffington Post: researching logistics solutions or troubleshooting IT is an easier endeavor if you know that a soothing, mentally-focused break is waiting, not just a hurried lunch.
3. Schedule Frequent Check-Ins and Interventions
Identify and address stressors, don't just pay them lip service.
Obviously, there will always be some sort of stress in a workplace— that’s unavoidable— but stress in general can be minimized with smart management. If a particular form is poorly written, if necessary items are often understocked, if a form email contains incorrect information that often needs to be explained to customers— these are issues that can be completely erased with an afternoon of solution-focused planning. It's easy to ignore little aggravations like low paperclip supplies or extra steps that must be taken in an out-of-date system, but, collectively, these small annoyances can form a substantial mental obstacle. As the saying goes, work smarter, not harder— periodically assess your workflow for redundancies and errors.
4. Fuel Up for the Long Haul
Make sure your body has the tools it needs to perform well under pressure.
A cup of coffee, a hurried donut, a vital hour shaved off of a sleep schedule for another pursuit. Each act seems pretty harmless, especially in the context of a busy day. It may seem simplistic, but mindful routines that emphasize a 'real' breakfast— no, break room danishes don't count— a healthy sleep schedule and regular water intake will actually help how you get on at your desk.
Your body is a machine, and without oil on the gears and gas in the fuel tank, it's only a matter of time before the moving parts— i.e. your brain and overall health— break down and stop performing at optimum levels.
Each workplace is different— some may depend on logistics solutions while others push customer relationships— but each has demands and stressors challenging its workforce. These four techniques won't eliminate those demands entirely, but they will give employees and managers alike a lot more to work with as challenges arise.