Can You Talk to Your Boss About Work Stress? Yes, and Here’s How

Stress in the workplace is something nearly everyone will deal with at some point in their lives. But does it have to go undiscussed with your boss? Nowadays, work-life balance matters more than ever at work, and it’s perfectly acceptable to sit down with your boss and discuss your workload, company environment, and more, and how it could be contributing to your overall added stress. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when calling that meeting.

Stressed business woman in the office

It’s perfectly fine to discuss stress at work with your boss. | iStock.com/kieferpix

Talk to your boss before you go to HR

Monster.com suggests that you save HR as a last resort. Since your boss is someone you work closely with on a daily basis, they might understand better that you’re under an immense amount of stress at work and come up with solutions between the two of you or between your entire team about how to better manage the stress. If your boss doesn’t see where you’re coming from and the stressful environment escalates, talking to HR should be your next move. But most bosses have an understanding of how stressful the workplace can be, and he or she will likely want to work through the stress with you.

Find the exact source of your stress

Before sitting down with your boss, you should pinpoint exactly what it is about your job that’s stressing you out. Is one specific coworker always jumping down your throat about something? Or are you constantly working late at the office in order to keep up with your intense workload? Knowing where your stress is coming from creates a productive meeting that also won’t take up too much time. If a heavy workload is what’s stressing you out, keeping the meeting succinct and productive will ease that burden a bit.

Approach your boss in advance about a meeting

Rather than getting up from your desk and asking your boss if you can speak with him or her for a minute, set up a scheduled time to discuss your workplace stress. This allows your boss to carve out a bit of their day to talk things through with you. Otherwise, they may be on their way to lunch, another meeting, or somewhere else and not be giving you 100% of their attention when you talk.

When approaching your boss, remember that it’s part of their job to make sure their employees are doing their best. Stress can greatly affect work performance, so your boss would probably be happy to sit down and speak with you about it. Don’t be nervous to call a meeting.

Remember what’s expected of you

Although workplace stress happens to almost everyone, it’s also important to take a step back and remember what the job requires you to do. Why were you hired? What daily tasks are expected of you? This is a good time for self-reflection and for you to think about whether it’s the work place that’s too stressful or the role you’re in. Sometimes, employees get a job offer and bite off more than they can chew because they might love the salary, benefits, or company, but realize it’s too much for them to handle. If this comes up in the meeting, prepare a few ways to suggest how you can lessen your stress while still maintaining the work requirements for the job.

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