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Keep stress down as work demands rise

Layoffs and other work force reductions have left survivors with increased workloads and other challenges, according to a new survey of more than 4,400 workers by CareerBuilder.com. Nearly half of the workers said they have taken on more responsibility because of a layoff, while 37 percent said they are handling the work of two people. The survey also found that 34 percent of workers are spending more time at the office, and 22 percent are working more weekends. • So how do you remain sane and healthy amid the rising work demands? CareerBuilder offers some tips on how to keep your stress level in check.

Take some time to recharge. Another CareerBuilder survey found that 35 percent of 4,400 workers surveyed said they haven't gone on or aren't planning to take a vacation this year. Nearly 1 in 5 workers said they're either afraid of losing their jobs if they do or feel guilty about being away.

Okay, that's crazy.

Jennifer Grasz, a spokeswoman at CareerBuilder, agrees. "Workers need to recharge. It's counterproductive not to take the time off," she says.

Even if it's not a full-blown vacation, take a mental health day to take care of yourself. Or take a lunch break.

Prioritize your tasks. If you have more than one project to handle, talk to your supervisor about work expectations. Get feedback on what you should tackle first.

"So that it doesn't feel like 10 things have to get done in one day," Grasz says.

Cut the e-leash. That means when you're on vacation, don't check e-mail or voicemail.

"Something that you thought would take a few minutes took three hours of your day," Grasz says. "You need the time to get away from the office, recharge and bring the stress levels down so that when you come back, you could tackle projects more effectively."

CareerBuilder also advises turning off electronic devices at a certain time of the day to signal the end of the workday.

Consider flexible work arrangements. Grasz says more employers are allowing telecommuting and compressed workweeks as options so that workers can better balance personal and work lives.

Try to ignore rumors. It's easier said than done as workers become increasingly worry about their job security. But getting caught up with gossip can also distract you from work. If your concerns are serious enough, talk to your supervisor or human resources.

Keep stress down as work demands rise 06/12/09 [Last modified: Friday, June 12, 2009 4:30am]

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