How to minimize stress in the workplace when a job deadline approaches

Posted on February 11, 2013, by sr law, Click here for PDF Article Download


This Article has been prepared for our website by Ryan Rivera, who has published articles on the internet about Anxiety Disorder

Stress levels go haywire and shoot up as crunch time approaches. The most common reasons for having these feelings of tension and anxiety are a huge workload and a very tight time frame to finish the job. Research has shown that meeting deadlines lead to more stress and panic symptoms than any other factors. Managers and supervisors are usually the first people who feel the tension, more severely in fact.

Too much stress in the workplace can hinder productivity and seriously affect an employee’s physical and emotional health. Hence, managers should keep stress levels to a minimum. If a manager can remain calm in a stressful work environment, employees are likely to exhibit significantly fewer stress symptoms.

Workplace stress signs and symptoms

Feeling swamped as the deadline approaches can make confidence levels plummet, making the stressed person both cranky and uncommunicative. This creates the feeling that the effort being put into the project isn’t worthwhile which can lead to a decline in productivity. Ignoring the ominous signs of excessive workplace stress can give way to more significant issues like physical and psychological problems. Here are some of the symptoms to watch out for:

  • Anxiety, depression, or irritability
  • Turning to drugs or alcohol to ease the tension
  • Lack of focus
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of libido
  • Stomach problems
  • Tension headaches
  • Muscle pains
  • Socially withdrawn
  • Fatigue
  • Indifference
  • Loss of interest in working

Excessive work stress that can have harmful health risks is caused by stressors such as extra overtime work due to cutbacks in the labour workforce, the pressure to work hard to conform to company expectations, and the gnawing fear of getting fired. Another factor that triggers workplace stress is the massive strain to perform continually at a steady rate without respite.

As the countdown clock approaches zero hour

Employers should act as encouraging role models, especially during periods when the levels of work stress are high. Preparing your staff to meet deadlines requires tact and a confident attitude, where you need to lay out the work plans and assign tasks fittingly. However, to motivate your employees to finish a project in a narrow time frame, you need to be calm, focused and creative.

Don’t force the results. Rather, invest a lot of time in planning well to ensure you get the job done on time. If you need to outsource certain tasks or hire extra workers, then do so. To lessen the pressure, call some clients and request for an extended deadline.

Start on the toughest areas of the project. Tell your personnel to get the most difficult part of the work, like resources, research and equipment, done and out of the way. Eliminating the hard tasks initially gives you a better shot in meeting the deadline. This preparatory step spearheads the path and gets everybody in the right direction.

Tell your employees to holler at the first sign of a problem. Some workers slow down when they hit an obstacle or a stumbling block. Some may even hide the problem, sometimes in protest for having to work longer hours. Find the people who aren’t cooperating well, but do it discreetly.

To save energy, make sure every employee is focused on the job. Distractions and interruptions can only raise stress levels and drain workers of their energy. See to it that they are focusing their time well in a stress-free environment.

Give your employees sufficient breaks. Working hard and continuously can’t guarantee a better result. Encourage your workers to take five to allow them to get rid of the boredom of work, get their circulation going and to restore some of their energy.

Explain everyone’s job assignment, so no one gets confused. Be sure that everyone who receives their work assignment understands their role.

Make sketches and plans, so everyone gets a clear picture of what needs to be accomplished. Write down what’s expected of everyone and allow your employees to respond by giving you some feedback. Make everything clear through the use of visual aids like rough drawings, charts, boxes or any materials that can convey your idea. Everyone will be able to catch on.

Prevent pressure build-up by knowing you are doing a good job. Worry feeds on your energy. If you show signs of stress, your people will notice, and work may slow down. If you remain calm and relaxed, your mind will be more open to ideas and adopt smarter measures to improve the job. If you feel you are in control of the project, then stress and anxiety can’t get a hold on you.

If you failed to make the deadline

Knowing that they’ll be facing a tight deadline, make sure that your work staff will be able to handle the responsibilities assigned to them efficiently. Should a delay be inevitable, ask your employees to negotiate with the clients who will be affected. Clients who could be ticked off by the delay can be pacified by just offering the courtesy of letting them know what’s going on and what you are doing to make things right.

More information about Ryan Rivera can be found at, which contain a list of some key articles which he has written