Do you often feel completely exhausted after a busy day at work?
Do you think you are underappreciated at work?
Have you been looking for your dream job for years, but is your high sensitivity getting in the way?
Highly sensitive people sometimes do not have it easy in the workplace.
The good news is that you can do something about it and this article can help you!
What is High Sensitivity (HSP?)
High sensitivity and high sensitivity are often mentioned in the same breath. However, these two terms do not mean exactly the same thing.
Where high sensitivity mainly has to do with sensory perceptions, emotions play a role in high sensitivity.
You become highly sensitive if you do not handle your high sensitivity in the right way.
If you are highly sensitive, stimuli will hit you extra hard and you will need more time to process them.
If not, you can become highly sensitive. This high sensitivity is mainly expressed in how you react in certain situations.
However, as a highly sensitive person, you also have exceptional qualities that can be very useful in the workplace. Curious which these are? You will find out in the section below:
Characteristics of Highly Sensitive Employees
As a highly sensitive person, don’t think that you have less potential than others.
Do you want to become as successful as your colleagues? Do you want to go for that promotion?
Do you want to be respected in the workplace? Then you will have to find a way to use your positive qualities as much as possible. And you have!
If you are highly sensitive, you will certainly recognize these positive characteristics:
I have also listed a few situations that you as a highly sensitive person will certainly recognize.
You don’t just answer an e-mail
You usually need more time for this than your colleagues.
After all, you want to find the perfect words to give as clear an answer as possible without being too direct.
After all, according to you, every word can be interpreted in a different way.
Confronting a colleague makes you feel uncomfortable
No one likes to hear that they have been careless or made a mistake. That is precisely why you find it annoying to point this out to your colleagues.
Colleagues’ feelings and moods can exhaust you completely
This feeling is not only limited to the workplace, but you often also take it home with you.
The smell of your colleague gets on your nerves so much, but you don’t dare to talk to him or her about it
As a highly sensitive person, you are also more sensitive to smells.
That means a whiff of perfume to someone else, often comes over you like a smoke perfume.
On the other hand, also notice immediately if someone does not smell so fresh. As a highly sensitive person, however, you dare not say anything about this.
After all, you fear that this person will find this quite embarrassing.
Too bright lights, too cold air conditioning, a wobbly office chair
You have probably experienced it before:
- A fluorescent lamp that keeps on flickering,
- An air conditioner that is buzzing or blowing much too cold air,
- That one colleague who keeps turning around in his wobbly office chair.
- It doesn’t seem to bother anyone, but you as a highly sensitive person can get quite moody about this.
But no matter how much you hate these things, as a highly sensitive person, you will rarely, if ever, talk to your colleagues about them.
However, I do have some very good news for you. You can overcome these problems and irritations and I will help you with that!
Read carefully why the workplace can be so stressful for a highly sensitive person.
Why the workplace is stressful for an HSP
It is rarely quiet in a workplace…
People talk a lot, people walk back and forth, the telephone rings all the time and managers can put a lot of pressure on you.
Some people just get more energy and perform better because of this. But as a highly sensitive person you can’t handle this very well.
If you are highly sensitive, you often try extra hard to prove yourself. And therein lies the problem!
For some assignments you need more time. If it gets too busy around you, you perform less well. You can have less, get frustrated and you often overreact.
Do you recognize these stressful situations in your workplace? Do you think this could put your current job in jeopardy in the long run? Don’t let it come to that!
A little later in this article you will find 9 effective tips so that you can better deal with certain situations.
But first let’s find out which job suits you best as a highly sensitive person.
Which job suits me as a highly sensitive person?
Perhaps you have already experienced that it is not so easy to find a job that suits you perfectly.
In the search for a suitable job it is important that you are aware of your limitations and of your qualities. Look for a job where you can make the most of your highly sensitive qualities.
Highly sensitive and highly sensitive people are often very creative.
In a creative job you can express your creativity as a highly sensitive person and you can often work at your own pace.
So think about a job as a photographer, interior specialist, fashion designer, graphic designer, etc…
A job in healthcare
As a highly sensitive person, you can feel emotions and feelings of others very fine.
You often think about life and you are often looking for a deeper meaning. These are qualities that you can put to good use in healthcare.
Nurse, nurse, dietician, therapist and even doctor are professions that fit well with your personality.
The only drawback is that as a highly sensitive person you often absorb the feelings of others. Try to deal realistically with illness and suffering.
A job in IT is ideal for many highly sensitive people.
You can concentrate completely on what you are doing without too many outside impressions.
You are also a very perfectionist. You probably understand that this is a very important quality in the computer world.
Highly sensitive people are often very precise programmers, analysts or social media experts.
Combine this with the ability to be very precise and like to work on your own and a second Albert Einstein may be born.
Working in nature or with animals
A quiet environment is very important for highly sensitive people. Working in nature or with animals is, therefore, a real dream job for many highly sensitive people.
Have you ever thought about becoming an environmental or botanist or animal caretaker?
Maybe having your own dog hair salon is something for you? Or why not completely turn around and become a farmer?
So much for a few professions that you as a highly sensitive person will certainly like. Do you already have a job that you are actually quite happy with?
But if you feel that your high sensitivity sometimes hinders you in certain areas, then the tips below can certainly help you.
Highly sensitive at work? 9 tips
Some highly sensitive people actually don’t feel good in a busy work environment at all.
Others have learned to handle their character traits in such a way that they are quite happy with their jobs.
Do you want to know how to deal with high sensitivity at work in an efficient way?
Then carefully read the tips below that will help you:
Tip #1 know your own talents and needs
If you don’t know your talents and needs yourself, you can’t expect your colleagues to understand them either.
What do you like about your job and what do you dislike? In what circumstances do you perform well?
Do you like to work alone or do you enjoy working with colleagues? Do you like to work in silence or do you not mind certain noises?
Only if you know very well in which circumstances you work best, then you can talk about it with your colleagues.
Tip #2 accept that you are sometimes ‘different’
As a highly sensitive person, you may feel different from your colleagues. You react differently – and perhaps more fiercely – to certain things.
You like to work accurately and you prefer to avoid time pressure. During the lunch break, you would rather come to yourself than sit down and chat.
Because you are very aware of your being ‘different’, you often make too much effort to fit in.
You try not to comment, you accept time pressure and you join us for lunch when you really don’t feel like it.
Do not do this! You are simply not like your colleagues and there is no point in comparing yourself to them.
Not doing things your own way will only lead to more frustration and arousal.
Be yourself if you want to feel good in the workplace.
Tip #3 stand up for yourself
If you are highly sensitive, you often find it far too tiring to spend your energy on it.
While this may seem like a daunting task to you, it is important.
If your colleagues don’t understand you, they will always see you as ‘different’ and maybe a little strange.
This is not a bad thing, but it is important to explain to your colleagues how you work and what they can take into account.
Your colleagues will understand you better, be more considerate of your feelings and you will gain confidence.
Tip #4 take good care of yourself and plan rest moments
You probably realize that as a highly sensitive person you need more time for yourself than others. So take that time.
If you don’t do this, you can become chronically overstimulated. Chronic overstimulation can lead to all kinds of physical and psychological complaints. Don’t let it get to that point, not even in the workplace.
Shutting yourself off from everything and everyone at work, however, is not that easy. The lunch break is the perfect time to do this, but that’s usually it.
That is why it is important to take good care of yourself before and after work. Small routines as described below can help you with this:
Tip #5 make optimal use of your talents
As a highly sensitive person you have many talents:
You can intensely enjoy simple things, you are intuitive and you feel the emotions of others well.
If you make the most of these talents, your colleagues will surely realize that a very special person is part of their team!
Tip #6 make sure you have some greenery in your workplace
Plants not only look great in the workplace but also have many other benefits.
Research at the University of Technology in Sydney has shown that flowers and plants in the workplace significantly reduce the stress level of employees.
As a highly sensitive person, you can enjoy the beautiful and simple things in life. You can relax a bit by taking a look at a piece of nature.
Plants also help to muffle sounds and that is of course good for you as a highly sensitive person. Muffled sounds come to you less loudly than loud sounds.
Tip #7 keep a big cleaning every now and then
Regular cleaning at your workplace is really a must if you are highly sensitive.
It is better to keep things that you do not need immediately in the cupboard. Stacks of files on your desk can be compared to impressions in your head. The emptier you make your desk, the more rest it will give you.
Ever heard of the KonMari method? If you are highly sensitive, it is really worthwhile to delve into this.
This method, developed by cleaning expert Marie Kondo, states that it is important to throw away all the things that do not bring you joy or peace.
Chances are, of course, that you will find a lot of things at work that do not bring you peace.
So you shouldn’t just throw everything away. However, you can make sure that everything is tidy.
However, that does not mean that your workplace should be completely empty and give a sterile impression. According to Marie Kondo, this is not necessary. Surrounding yourself with things you do like can just as well bring peace to your mind.
As a highly sensitive person, you are often a bit more spiritual in life than your colleagues. A mineral stone as a paperweight or a frame of delicate crystals can give you a wonderfully calm feeling.
Finally, you can always ask your boss to get a certain seat in the office. Is the air conditioner too cold? Are you bothered by the bicycle shed next to your office?
Discuss this with your boss. Once you have fewer distractions, you can also concentrate better on your work. A win-win for both parties.
Tip #8 noise-canceling headphones
If sounds come to you too loud at your workplace, ask your boss if you can wear noise-canceling headphones every now and then.
It is of course not the intention to wear these during a meeting or a conversation with a customer. But you can safely perform administrative tasks with a noise-canceling phone on.
The sounds will come to you less loudly, allowing you to work more productively. If you make this clear to your boss, he probably won’t refuse.
Tip #9 Working at home
If you sometimes find it too busy in the workplace, discuss with your boss the possibility of working from home. This will also increase your productivity.
First of all, you will already be less concerned about getting to work: no traffic, no crowded buses or trams, no street noises, etc… You can get started right away at home, without having to worry too much.
When your partner or your children are out of the house, you can work completely in silence.
And let silence be exactly what you are looking for as a highly sensitive person!