The competitive, people-oriented environment of a showroom floor can lead to physical and mental stress. Here are 5 ways to stay motivated.
Stress on the sales floor and in the workplace is nothing new, but it seems to be on the rise.
According to a June 27 article by Rich Fernandez posted on the HarvardBusiness Review website, a large-scale survey found that of the more than 1.5 million employees in 4,500 companies across 185 countries surveyed, approximately 75% of the workforce reported moderate to high stress levels. (The study was conducted as part of the Global Corporate Challenge, an employee health and performance program based in New York.) Of that number, 36% reported feeling highly or extremely stressed at work, with a another 39% reporting moderate levels of workplace stress.
That level of stress can be a recipe for burnout, loss of productivity and missed sales.
To counteract those negative feelings, it’s important to build resilience skills, wrote Fernandez, co-founder of the San Francisco-based learning solutions company Wisdom Labs and former director of learning and organization development at Google, eBay and J.P. Morgan Chase.
He offers the following tips:
- Exercise mindfulness. Mindfulness is associated with decreasing stress while improving work engagement. To learn more, check out these books: “Fully Present: The Art, Science and Practice of Mindfulness” and “Mindfulness: An Eight Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World.” Apps such as Headspace, Spire, Mental Workout, Calm, Whil and Simple Habit also can provide insight.
- Compartmentalize your cognitive load. Create dedicated times of the day to do specific work tasks, such as answering emails or holding strategy sessions. When switching from one task to another, our ability to tune out distractions decreases and productivity goes down by as much as 40%, Fernandez writes.
- Take detachment breaks. The typical person can maintain mental clarity and focus for 90 to 120 minutes. After that, it’s a good idea to take a break and recharge. “Research suggests that balancing work activity with even a brief time for detaching from those activities can promote greater energy, mental clarity, creativity and focus, ultimately growing our capacity for resilience throughout the course of the workday,” Fernandez writes. “The long-term payoff is that we preserve energy and prevent burnout over the course of days, weeks and months.”
- Develop mental agility. When we tell upset children to “use your words,” we are asking them to shift from the emotional center of their brains to the thinking center. In the same way, adults in the workplace can “decenter” stressors by pausing, observing the experience from a neutral standpoint and then trying to solve the problem. This mental agility allows us to take a step back and shift from the emotional neural network to the more observational parts of the brain.
- Cultivate compassion. According to research, compassion—both for ourselves and customers—increases positive emotions, creates strong work relationships and increases cooperation and collaboration, Fernandez says.