HR professionals have a stressful job. But January is a notoriously hectic time. With so much reporting and compliance tasks to complete which have strict deadlines – from W2’s to 401K contributions, HSA accounts and new laws that take effect – many hope their co-workers will be kind enough to toss them a Snickers bar every now and then because they expect to be “not themselves” until February.
Between our own HR staff and our Professional Services team that works with other HR departments around the country this time of year, we know exactly how you’re feeling! It is tempting to want to stay locked away in your office, heads down until you dig yourself out of your paperwork. But you might not have to go to extreme measures. We have a nifty stress survival guide just for HR Professionals to help you stay sane all month long.
Stress Survival Tactic #1 – Manage Your Email
Email is a top workplace stressor for everyone. On a regular day, you might be able to quickly respond to a query. But in January, every second counts and time-consuming distractions can make deadlines loom larger. Set specific times when you will answer emails throughout the day. Close your application when you are working on completing reports. Set an “out of office” message that automatically lets your co-workers and people outside your organization when they can expect to hear back from you.
Stress Survival Tactic #2 – Keep Healthy Snacks On Hand
It is hard to resist the impulse to stress eat. But you can, at least, control what you nibble on; no need to pack on the
pounds just because you have an extra heavy workload. Instead of swinging by the break room to hit up the vending machine or to munch on the excess Christmas cookies that a co-worker banished from their home, have your own healthy goodies stashed in your draw. Raw nuts, fresh fruit, or granola can fit the bill. Want a Snickers bar substitution? Try Kind Bars. They are made with more wholesome ingredients while feeling like a guilty pleasure.
Stress Survival Tactic #3 – Don’t Eat Lunch At Your Desk
A daily temptation when work piles up is to eat at your desk. You think you are saving time by squeezing in an extra 45 minutes of work in your day. But according to The Huffington Post, CareerRealism, and The Washington Post, you can actually improve your creativity, productivity, and overall job performance by taking that break. Plus you tend to make better food choices, avoiding the slow weight creep… which is stressful enough!
Stress Survival Tactic #4 – Make Time To Interact With Your Co-Workers
Taking breaks from your work helps you to come back to it with fresh perspectives. And while you might be tempted to stay away from civilization while you grind away at reports, remaining social can actually help you stay even-keeled. Instead of replying to an email, walk two doors down and have a quick conversation with your co-worker. Take a quick lap around the office when you take a restroom break. Quickly pop your head into two or three offices or cubicles of people you haven’t connected with in a while. You’ll create better bonds with your co-workers and rack up some extra steps on your FitBit! Our team loves doing fun activities around the holidays and we also know how to have fun while we work!
Stress Survival Tactic #5 – Have a Drink! (Two, max!)
You were probably going to do this one anyway, whether or not we suggested it! Now, of course, we’re not advocating that you have a bottle of 80 proof liquor in your desk drawer that you start working on at 10:30 am! If you’ve managed your time well during the day, you deserve to leave the office at a regular time. Go to happy hour with co-workers or some friends to unwind. Or have dinner in alone or with your significant other and enjoy a relaxing drink. Numerous studies have shown the health benefits of red wine, in particular, so put your feet up at the end of a long day and enjoy in moderation.
Do you have some other stress survival tactics in your arsenal? We’d love to know! Share with us in the comments. Interested in how our team balances work and play up close and personal? Check us out.
Written with contributions from Kendra Apodaca, Director of Talent Management and Susan Jimenez, Sr. HRMS Consultant.