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Work Under Pressure

What is Working Under Pressure?

A person writing with a pen in foreground and a small group of people working around the desk in the background.Working under pressure involves tackling difficult situations which are challenging to resolve. The difficulty of the situation may be the result of time constraints, complex problems, unrealistic expectations, competing demands, limited resources, limited control, or a combination of any of these challenges. To work effectively under pressure you must remain calm and composed within demanding situations and focus on getting the job done to the best of your ability.

The intensive pace of the modern working environment often places substantial demands and stress on people. To succeed in this environment graduates need to learn to manage these demands and cope with potentially stressful situations while maintaining professionalism and effective performance.

Working Under Pressure is about demonstrating:
  • Control - Remain calm in difficult situations. Donít let emotions cloud your judgment or your focus on the situation.
  • Evaluation - Take time to assess the situation and rationally identify the key factors and potential solutions available.
  • Planning - Develop a logical and realistic plan, broken down into manageable tasks.
  • Stress management - Recognise when you are feeling stressed and take effective actions to ease pressure on yourself. Excessive stress will impact negatively on your performance and health, so learn to identify and manage it properly.
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How to improve/demonstrate your ability to Work Under Pressure:
  • Take time to assess the situation and donít allow yourself to rush into making rash emotionally-driven decisions.
  • Learn to manage your time and resources effectively. Make an effort to be well organised in order to reduce pressure on yourself.
  • Think positively. Negative thinking closes down your options, generates anxiety and leads to poor performance. Learn to look for positive aspects and opportunities in a situation.
  • Delegate. Where possible and suitable, delegate responsibility to others to reduce pressure on yourself in difficult situations.
  • Focus on the tasks and responsibility over which you have control. Donít waste time and energy worrying about other peopleís responsibilities when you can only take action in relation to your own commitments.
  • Learn to manage stress:
    • Recognise signs that you are experiencing stress; for example, feeling hot and tense. Use stress management strategies which work for you; for example, take a quick walk, use humour, or have a chat with someone to clarify your options.
    • Learn to balance your time between work and social activities. Overworking can be a false economy and can generate stress and career burn out.
    • Take regular exercise each week and eat a healthy diet Ė avoid over indulgence in alcohol.
    • Donít over burden yourself with an excessive workload.

Working Under Pressure can be affected by difficulties in the following abilities

(Impairments that may impact on the particular 'ability' are shown in brackets)

Click below to read about the effects of limited abilities on Working Under Pressure as well as adjustments to practice/inclusive strategies.


Stress at Work, How to reduce and manage job workplace stress , Helpguide.org

How to Work under Pressure , IT Managers Inbox

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University of Worcester

Dr Val Chapman (NTF)
Principal Investigator
Director, Centre for Inclusive Learning Support
Email: v.chapman@worc.ac.uk
University of Plymouth

Judith Waterfield (NTF)
Head of Disability ASSIST Services
Email: j.waterfield@plymouth.ac.uk
University of Gloucester

Dr Phil Gravestock (NTF)
Head of Learning Enhancement and Technology Support
Email: pgravestock@glos.ac.uk