The FM Professional

6 Ways FMs Can Decrease Their Stress at Work

Darin Herle
July 26th, 2018
Ways FMs Can Decrease Their Stress at Work

Workplace stress, or occupational stress, is understood as the response employees have when faced with extreme workplace pressures. This stress can be caused by demands that exceed an employee’s knowledge or abilities, but it can also be created by a massive workload and a lack of time. For many, the average day is simply too short to get everything done.

According to the CDC’s National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, between 29% and 40% of Americans report being “extremely stressed” at work. This type of stress is known to have a number of consequences, from increased sick days to much more serious conditions like heart disease.


Workplace stress is an important issue in today’s business landscape, and facility managers are not impervious to its effects. It’s important that FMs manage stress appropriately, not only for their own health, but in order to ensure that they don’t transfer stress to colleagues and employees. As such, FMs need to develop ways to manage occupational stress.

Get organized

Clutter can negatively impact mental health and state of mind, so FMs should endeavor to keep their workspace organized and clean. Buy desk organization tools if you need help keeping things clean and always keep some wipes handy to rid yourself of spills, dust and grime. Consider alphabetized folders for keeping paper documents in order. And don’t forget about your digital “space”. Your computer desktop should be clean and well organized, and your email inbox should utilize folders, notes and labels.

Another massive source of stress for facility managers is the daily challenge of juggling dozens of work orders and move requests. Managing a large office is difficult enough, but when effective systems and processes aren’t in place, the job can feel overwhelming. Software can help streamline operations and ensure that all tasks are easily scheduled and tracked. OfficeSpace’s Move Manager can help FMs organize both large-scale moves and day-to-day relocations, while Request Manager offers full control of requests through a simple and intuitive system. With these systems in place, FMs spend less time doing admin and juggling priorities, and more time getting work done.

Go for a walk

Clear your head and stand up from your desk regularly

Being stationary for too long is bad for your body and mind, so ensure you stand up regularly and never eat lunch at your desk. In fact, use your lunch break to take a quick walk outside and get some fresh air. A sunny stroll will help clear your head and prepare you for the rest of the day with renewed energy.

Take care of yourself

This means eating well, getting enough sleep and participating in regular physical activities. It may also mean having set hours where you turn off your phone and don’t check your email. Communicate to your colleagues when you will be unavailable so that they know not to contact you. Always feeling like you are “on the clock” is bad for your stress levels, so be sure to set clear boundaries between “work time” and “personal time”.

Use the right tools

Management Software to automate and decrease load of work

These days, smart software can go a long way towards making workloads more manageable. Use facilities management software to help you best do your job. Having certain things automated, stored and tracked for you will immediately decrease the number of tasks you face on a daily basis. Software can help with desk booking, space management, work orders, resource tracking and reporting. By having a software solution in place, you spend less time digging through data and dealing with paperwork, and more time focusing on key responsibilities.

Don’t be a perfectionist

While it’s important to always commit to performing your job to the best of your abilities, a tendency towards perfectionism can actually slow you down and cause unnecessary stress. Make sure you know exactly what expectations are—both from colleagues and higher-ups—and don’t get carried away pouring too much energy into too many projects. Spending too much times on a particular project, obsessing over details and constantly doing the work of others can leave you feeling overwhelmed and underproductive. Prioritize and make sure that you’re spending your time efficiently.

Listen to music

listen to music at work

If you can’t or don’t listen to music at work, put on a calming track in the car or use your headphones on the bus. Music has been proven to have a number of calming effects, including the tendency to slow elevated breathing and lower blood pressure. Listening to music at work can have a very relaxing effect, so FMs who feel the pressures of the job getting to them should experiment with playing a little music to help them better focus and deal with daily stresses.


Stress is a natural part of work, but it’s important to keep it in check. By setting yourself up to manage stressful situations before they happen, you’ll naturally be better at adapting and problem-solving. FMs can learn stress management techniques and even impart them to their colleagues and employees. That way, everyone in the office can benefit.

Stress can be a result of many factors within a workplace, so learn how office design can actually combat these effects.

Photo Credits: Shutterstock / Dean Drobot, Shutterstock / nd3000, Shutterstock / Pressmaster, Shutterstock / Rawpixel