Coping in the workplace is not something which you perfect immediately or reach a certain point and have to do no more work at – it is something you must work at overtime and maintain throughout your tenure.
There will be times in any job where you feel a little stretched or are finding something a little bit difficult, equally at times there may be external factors in your private life which impact on your performance and happiness levels in work. While this is normal for all employees these times may be even a little tougher for those of us who already find the workplace a challenge.
In this section, we look at different coping strategies you can use to help identify problems and manage anxiety within the workplace.
Perfectionism is common with many people on the autism spectrum. It can be as much a source of stress as it is of success. Setting unrealistic expectations of oneself, not taking time for a break or viewing their work as a constant competition with their co-workers may wear a person out quickly.
It is important to take time for yourself and self-care. Make sure that you’re getting the right balance between work and play. Communicate clearly with your supervisor and employer about your needs at a time convenient for you both.
It’s easy to forget to keep talking to your colleagues and employer about how you’re finding work and if you need any more help. In no job are all challenges associated with it made clear in the first day or even month. As personnel or projects change, as systems evolve or as your role in the business changes, difficulties come and go.
Make sure that your employer understands your needs as they evolve over time. Keep a regular consultation slot or structure that you have in place open. Even if you haven’t disclosed that you are autistic to your employer, many will usually be prepared to support their staff when they find that something is challenging them or impacting on their performance.
A friendly chat with someone we trust can do us a world of good if we feel things are getting on top of us. This person can be a friend, a family member or even a colleague in work. An external point of view on the situation can be refreshingly clear. If you aren’t comfortable with talking to either, counselling or professional support services are available. Depending on where you work, your business may offer these services as part of the human resources department.
Employers will usually expect you to not allow outside factors to influence your performance in work. If you are having a bad day at home, try and keep it separate to your working day and vice versa. If one thing is going badly for you, there’s no point in dwelling on it or having it impact on the other parts of your life.
For those of us living with autism, who are so often affected by anxiety, this is easier said than done. If something is really bothering or distracting you, mention to your employer or someone you trust in work that you are experiencing some difficulties outside of the job. This will help them understand what they can do to work around those obstacles.