BSBWOR301 – Monitor Own Work Performance Copy
Accurately Monitor and Adjust Personal Work Performance through Self-Assessment to Ensure Achievement of Tasks and Compliance with Legislation and Work Processes or KPIs
Looking At How You Performed
In the previous Element, we spent time examining the skills required to organise your own work schedule. While having a schedule in place is a great start to improving your overall efficiency – generally speaking you should regard this as an on-going process, and like all business processes you need to monitor and provide feedback on your performance in order to continuously improve the process. In this Element we will look at how you can monitor your performance and look for ways in which you can improve the way you go about doing your work.
No matter how long it is that you have been working, or how experienced that you are, there are always ways in which you could have done things better. By assessing your performance, you can find ways in which you can always do things better. Spend time reflecting on the way that you do things and look for areas where improvements can be made. You may use a number of methods to achieve this, including:
• Keeping a journal
• Asking for feedback
• Reviewing projects.
Some useful information for doing this includes:
• When you look back on the work that you have done, does anything stand out to you as being significant in achieving or not achieving you goals?
• When this happened what were your doing?
• What made you feel that way?
• What made you excited, frustrated, or simply not interested in what you were doing?
• What was fun?
• What weren’t you sure about?
• Did you feel surprised?
• Did you want to learn more?
• What did you learn from the work that you did?
• How important was the development to you?
• How did what you did compare to what you thought you would be doing?
• How does this affect you?
• How does this affect your place in the team?
• Have you learnt anything like this in any other part of your life?
• How does this affect your work?
• How will it impact on your overall workload?
• What will you do differently as a result of what you have learnt?
• What changes will you make to your skill levels and performance in order to achieve this?
Applying Your Experiential Learning
So, as you continue to undertake your work, ensure that you take into account this appraisal of your performance, by looking hard at the learning you have achieved and the changes that you think you should make as a result of this analysis. You may like to discuss the results with your managers and supervisors in order to gain an understanding of where things could be done better and where you are performing well.
Monitoring Your Progress
Earlier in this manual, you should have established relevant objectives and criteria for acceptable performance. To review your work, you need to gather information that will enable you to ascertain whether or not you have met the required performance criteria.
There are numerous methods that you may use to gather the information, and the methods selected will vary significantly depending on the actual performance measures needed. However, some of the most common include:
• Work Measurement and Sampling: Work measurement involves using various techniques to obtain direct measurement of the work. This is particularly useful for assessing whether you actually managed to complete the work that you set out to do. This direct measurement can be conducted in a number of ways. It is, however, only useful for gaining objective information, such as whether a particular task was completed to a required standard, for example, by 5pm.
Samples are the most common method of work measurement, as you are able to take the completed sample, and use this to evaluate against some criteria, to determine whether it is meeting quality standards and the like.
• Feedback: Feedback is a process that involves seeking the opinions of those involved in the work process. You may ask them for feedback. This feedback should tell you how they feel about the operation of the work methods and processes. You should seek feedback from managers, supervisors, and other workers, to gain a broad understanding of how they feel about the process that you have implemented.
The information that you gain from the above sources can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the work that you completed. You can do this by comparing the review results to the planned objectives.
The methods used to gather information should be aimed at obtaining the type of information required to determine whether your objectives are being met. For example, if one of the objectives that you set for your work plan was to ensure that the telephone was answered within 60 seconds each time it rang, you should attempt to identify methods that will gather feedback such as asking some people who call you on a regular basis how quickly you answer the phone.
Once you have obtained the right information, you need to compare this against the plans that you set, back at the beginning of the process. One useful means of doing this is to create a table. In one column you should list the tasks that you wanted to achieve during the course of a given day and then you can check which of those objectives you managed to achieve during the course of that day.
Once you have evaluated the plan, you should identify any areas where improvements could be made.
Ensure that Feedback on Performance Is Actively Sought and Evaluated from Colleagues and Clients in the context of Individual and Group Requirements
More On Feedback
Seeking feedback is an important skill for the workplace. Being able to identify areas of concern and taking action before they become problems will improve your chances of success in the workplace.
Feedback on your performance can come from many sources. The most common and possibly useful include:
• Formal/informal performance appraisals
• Obtaining feedback from clients
• Obtaining feedback from supervisors and colleagues
• Personal, reflective behaviour strategies
• Routine organisational methods for monitoring service delivery.
Try to treat each work task you are assigned as a learning opportunity. Aim to get some feedback from your employer when you complete a task, whether you complete it successfully or unsuccessfully. Even though it is daunting to ask why you were unsuccessful, you may be able to use the information to improve your future work skills.
Few employees request feedback and thereby miss a very valuable opportunity to gain an insight into their skills and abilities at a job. Gaining the greatest benefit from feedback involves listening carefully to the reply without being defensive or trying to ‘explain’. Take the response on-board and reflect on it – you can decide later whether the information was constructive.
A few general tips:
• Seek feedback as soon as possible after the job is completed as the supervisor or manager may forget the specifics of the task
• Thank the person for the feedback they give you as it takes up their time to give it
• Be positive and enthusiastic about the job you have done.
Receiving feedback on your goals is crucial to achieving them.
Routinely Identify and Report on Variations in the Quality of and Products and Services according to Organisational Requirements
Quality control, with the aim of ‘quality assurance’, is a critical factor in many workplaces. Quality control is the testing of completed products to uncover defects, and reporting to management who make the decision to allow or deny the release of the product within the broader Quality Management System.
Quality control can apply to:
• Either products or services
• Private or public sets of benefits.
To determine variations in quality, organisations often use a checklist of expectations of quality and/or quantity. They ask three questions: 1. What variations in product quality are being identified? 2. How they are reported? 3. What immediate corrective action is taken?
Corrective action is taken to remove the variation. Follow-up action (e.g. to find the source of the problem or cause) could be done to try to prevent the problem happening again.
An example of quality control in an office would be proof-reading a report to ensure that it is marked up with corrections and instructions about layout according to a house style guide.
There will be a further question – how good is the monitoring? To answer this, someone needs to ‘check the checker’. This is another layer of quality control.
Identify Signs of Stress and Effects on Personal Wellbeing
Stress is the emotional and physical strain caused by our response to pressure from the outside world. Every person experiences stress in a different way. In order to determine the signs of stress, it can be helpful to think of the last time you know you were really stressed. Think about the things that you did or feelings that you had that indicated you were stressed. You can use those signs and symptoms to determine whether you might be stressed now. In order to help you, we have listed some specific signs that may indicate stress and have also provided suggestions for reducing your stress level.
Signs of Stress
• You may not take pleasure in activities that you used to enjoy.
• You may find simple things burdensome or difficult to accomplish.
• You may be distracted by all that you have to do or that it’s hard to keep track of little things.
• You may feel on edge, frustrated or annoyed, having less patience than normal.
• You may find a change in eating habits, either eating more or less than usual.
• You may sleep more than usual or alternatively have difficulty getting to sleep.
• You may be easily annoyed by little things or the way people behave.
• You may have emotions that are displayed to an extreme degree.
• You may have marked changes in personality.
• You may feel a real lack of energy.
• You may have trouble concentrating.
• You may exhibit aggressive behaviour.
• You may be absent from work more often.
• You may use alcohol or other substance abuse.
• You may be involved in conflict.
• You may have poor work performance.
If you are stressed at work, it is likely that you will feel some of that stress in your home life. If you plan and manage your workload more effectively, you will feel more in control of your work; this should help to reduce the stress. Planning your time more effectively means that you are able to be more flexible. If your agency wins a new contract and work needs to start immediately, it means you can help more easily. Being more flexible also means that you can plan holidays and time out of the office without disrupting the projects you are working on.
The body’s autonomic nervous system often does a poor job of distinguishing between daily stressors and life-threatening events. If you’re stressed over an argument with a friend, a traffic jam on your commute to work, or a mountain of bills, for example, your body can still react as if you’re facing a life-or-death situation.
When you repeatedly experience the fight or flight stress response in your daily life, it can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, speed up the aging process and leave you vulnerable to a host of mental, social and emotional problems.
Some tips for reducing stress:
• Get more exercise, it really does relieve stress.
• Establish a regular sleep schedule: sleep deprivation is a significant contributor to someone being emotionally stressed.
• Reduce your alcohol and drug use: alcohol and drugs contribute to stress, even though you may feel they reduce it.
• Manage your time: having too many demands on your time does result in stress.
• Try to understand why you are stressed in the first place. It’s not always obvious why a person is stressed and talking with someone can help you see reasons for your stress you may not be able to identify on your own.
Identify Sources of Stress and Access Appropriate Supports and Resolution Strategies
The situations and pressures that cause stress are known as stressors. We usually think of stressors as being negative, such as an exhausting work schedule or a rocky relationship. However, anything that puts high demands on you or forces you to adjust can be stressful. This includes positive events such as getting married, buying a house, going to college, or receiving a promotion.
Of course, not all stress is caused by external factors. Stress can also be selfgenerated, for example, when you worry excessively about something that may or may not happen, or have irrational, pessimistic thoughts about life.
Common causes of stress at work include:
• Complex tasks
• Cultural issues
• Work and family conflict
What causes excessive stress depends, at least in part, on your perception of it. Something that’s stressful to you may not faze someone else; they may even enjoy it. For example, your morning commute may make you anxious and tense because you worry that traffic will make you late. Others, however, may find the trip relaxing because they allow more than enough time and enjoy listening to music while they drive.
We’re all different. Some people seem to be able to roll with life’s punches, while others tend to crumble in the face of far smaller obstacles or frustrations. Some people even seem to thrive on the excitement and challenge of a high-stress lifestyle.
Your ability to tolerate stress depends on many factors, including the quality of your relationships and support network, your life experiences, your emotional intelligence, and genetics.
Support and Resolution Strategies
• Your Support Network
Social engagement is the body’s most evolved strategy for responding to stress so it’s no surprise that people with a strong network of supportive friends and family members are better able to cope with life’s stressors. On the flip side, the more lonely and isolated you are, the less opportunity you have to utilise social engagement and the greater your vulnerability to stress.
• Your Exercise Levels
Your physical and mental health are intrinsically linked, so the better you take care of your body, the greater resilience you’ll have against the symptoms of stress. Exercising regularly (for 30 minutes or more on most days) can lift your mood and help relieve stress, anxiety, anger and frustration. It can also serve as a distraction to your worries, allowing you to find some quiet time and break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed stress and anxiety.
• Your Diet
The food you eat can also have a profound effect on your mood and how well you cope with life’s stressors. Eating a diet full of processed and convenience food, refined carbohydrates, and sugary snacks can worsen symptoms of stress while eating a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, high-quality protein, and healthy fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, can help you better cope with life’s ups and downs.
• Your Sense of Control
It may be easier to take stress in your stride if you have confidence in yourself and your ability to influence events and persevere through challenges. If you feel like things are out of your control, you’re likely to have less tolerance for stress.
• Your Attitude and Outlook
Optimistic people are often more stress-hardy. They tend to embrace challenges, have a strong sense of humour, and accept that change is a part of life.
• Your Ability to Deal with Your Emotions
You’re extremely vulnerable to stress if you don’t know how to calm and soothe yourself when you’re feeling sad, angry, or overwhelmed by a situation. The ability to bring your emotions into balance helps you bounce back from adversity and is a skill that can be learned at any age.
• Your Knowledge and Preparation
The more you know about a stressful situation, including how long it will last and what to expect, the easier it is to cope. For example, if you go into surgery with a realistic picture of what to expect post-op, a painful recovery will be less traumatic than if you were expecting to bounce back immediately.
Dealing with Stress
While unchecked stress is undeniably damaging, you have more control than you might think. Unfortunately, many people cope with stress in ways that only compound the problem. They drink too much to unwind at the end of a stressful day, fill up on comfort food, zone out in front of the TV or computer for hours, use pills to relax, or lash out at other people. However, there are many healthier ways to cope with stress and its symptoms.
You may feel like the stress in your life is out of your control, but you can always control the way you respond.
• Stress Management
Learn healthier ways to cope with stress, help you reduce its harmful effects, and prevent stress from spiralling out of control again in the future.
• Awareness Raising
The first step towards managing stress better is to realise when things are getting on top of us. Recognising a problem is the first step towards doing something about it.
Stress Management Therapy exists to help counter such effects of stress. It refers to the techniques employed through counselling by psychiatrists, therapists and doctors, who help stressed individuals to relieve their stress, tensions, and resume their lives in a normal, stress-free way.
• Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)
An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is an employee benefit program offered by many employers. EAPs are intended to help employees deal with personal problems that might adversely impact their job performance, health, and well-being. EAPs generally include short-term counselling and referral services for employees and their household members.
• Family Support
A strong social support network can be critical to help through the stress of tough times, whether its relating to a bad day at work or a year filled with loss or chronic illness. Supportive family, friends and co-workers are an important part of life and it’s never too soon to cultivate these important relationships.
• Group Activities
When you are feeling stressed, playing games probably isn’t the first thing you think of as a way to relieve the stress. However, playing games and having fun is one of the most effective ways to manage stress, including playing online games, board games, card games and puzzles. Games take your mind off the stressor for a few minutes and allow you to blow off some steam after a stressful day.
• Job Design
Good job design accommodates a person’s mental and physical abilities. Where stress in the workplace is caused, for example, by a physical agent, it is best to control it at its source. If the workplace is too loud, implement control measures to deal with the noise wherever possible. If a person is experiencing pain from repetitive strain, the workstation can be redesigned to reduce repetitive and strenuous movements.
The main function of mediation is to enable a joint problem-solving approach to the perceived problem(s). Mediation has great potential in addressing perceived workplace stressors due to its psychological underpinnings. It is predominately suitable to address workplace stress via effective communication, a problemsolving approach and relationship building.
• Sharing Load
Knowing you have one or more co-workers who are willing to assist you in times of stress will reduce your stress level. Just remember to reciprocate and help them when they are in need.
• Time Off
It usually takes people two to three days to really relax and get into the groove of vacation time. Longer vacations are associated with greater psychological benefits than shorter ones, so try to plan a break that’s at least seven days.
• Engage Social
The simple act of talking face-to-face with another human being can release hormones that reduce stress even if you’re still unable to alter the stressful situation. Opening up to someone is not a sign of weakness and it won’t make you a burden to others. In fact, most friends will be flattered that you trust them enough to confide in them, and it will only strengthen your bond.
• Get Moving
Physical activity plays a key role in managing stress. Activities that require moving both your arms and your legs are particularly effective. Walking, running, swimming, dancing, and aerobic classes are good choices, especially if you exercise mindfully (focusing your attention on the physical sensations you experience as you move). Focused movement helps to get your nervous system back into balance. If you’ve been traumatised or experienced the immobilisation stress response, getting active can help you to become ‘unstuck.’
• Relaxation Techniques
Yoga and deep breathing activate the body’s relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the opposite of the fight or flight stress response.
• Eat a Healthy Diet
Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress. Start your day with a healthy breakfast, reduce your caffeine and sugar intake, add plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and cut back on alcohol and nicotine.
• Get Plenty of Sleep
Feeling tired can increase stress by causing you to think irrationally. Keep your cool in stressful situations by getting a good night’s sleep.
Cultural aspects may need some attention when dealing with work-related stress. For example, spirituality and religion, next to community rituals are often more important than acquisition of material possessions or money.
• In order to ensure that you are staying on target, it is important that you monitor your progress towards your goals and objectives. This means that you are able to ensure that you can stay on target – reaching your goals and objectives.
• Feedback is crucial to ensuring that your performance is up to the standard that is required by your organisation. Feedback can be formal or informal. It can come from yourself or others in the organisation.
• It is important that you are able to note any variation in the quality of the service that you provide. In doing so, you are able to find ways in which you can improve your service provision.
• Stress can make you fall behind on your work schedule. It is important to know what causes stress and what you can do to reduce it.