Workplace Stress

Hobbies may help reduce workplace stress

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News - Workplace Stress

Monday, 05 September 2011 16:00

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Hobbies may help reduce workplace stressSupervisors often encourage workers to engage in physical activity, eat a balanced diet and take advantage of their vacation days in an effort to reduce workplace stress. Additionally, research has shown that after-hours hobbies may be another way to decrease anxiety in employees.

An article in the Miami Herald reports that hobbies can reduce stress, alleviate high blood pressure and stimulate creativity in workers.

“No matter how good you are, no matter how intense you are and no matter how much you enjoy your job, stepping away relaxes the mind and gives you a new perspective," said Jim Bird, CEO of Atlanta-based worklifebalance.com, quoted by the news source.

Whether the hobby is running, gardening, playing a musical instrument or collecting an item, individuals should make time for their after-hours activities the way they would schedule in work-related tasks, according to the news source.

An article on the Mayo Clinic's website reports that having a hobby can also boost self-esteem and give workers a sense of accomplishment.

Encouraging hobbies, like a company softball team or planning group outings, may be an effective complement to an employee wellness program. Initiatives that provide tools and resources for stress management have been shown to be effective in improving employee performance and reducing costs stemming from employee health benefits.  
 

Workplace stress may induce cardiovascular problems

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News - Workplace Stress

Monday, 29 August 2011 16:00

Workplace stress may induce cardiovascular problemsIntense stress on the job may cause workers to engage in unhealthy habits, such as drinking, smoking or overeating. Additionally, anxiety is known to induce many physiological ramifications, which may lead to a compromised cardiovascular system.

An article on TheHeart.org cited a number of studies which point to an increased risk of heart and blood pressure problems for employees who are overly stressed at work.

One study from Finland involved public sector employees that worked at least three hours of overtime each day. They were found to have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease when compared to their counterparts who worked standard eight-hour days, according to the news source.

Another trial conducted in Italy showed that 78 percent of men who were relatively anger- and stress-free avoided a heart attack over a 10-year period, compared to 57 percent of men who reported having anxiety and anger issues. 

Harvard Women's Health Watch has reported that women in high-stress jobs have a 40 percent increased risk of heart disease, compared to females who did not experience workplace stress.

These findings underscore the importance of employee wellness programs, which provide tools and resources for stress management in an effort to improve staff health, strengthen employee performance and lower costs stemming from health insurance.  
 

Could workplace stress be partially blamed for rising healthcare costs?

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News - Workplace Stress

Thursday, 25 August 2011 16:00

Could workplace stress be partially blamed for rising healthcare costs? Researchers at Concordia University conducted a study based on nationally representative data of workers aged 18 to 65 and found significant correlations between workplace stress, illness and healthcare costs in Canada. 

They discovered that workers in high-stress positions are more likely to visit doctors and medical specialists for mental and physical conditions than their counterparts that experience less workplace stress.

In fact, the researchers estimated that healthcare appointments are up by about 26 percent for employees who experience anxiety as a result of their profession.

Authors of the study theorized that this effect may be due to the harm that stress can cause on the immune system, as well as the lifestyle habits that it can influence.

"Numerous studies have linked stress to back pain, colorectal cancer, infectious disease, heart problems, headaches and diabetes. Job stress may also heighten risky behaviours such as smoking, drug and alcohol abuse, discourage healthy behaviours such as physical activity, proper diet and increase consumption of fatty and sweet foods," said co-author Mesbah Sharaf.

In an analysis of the healthcare costs that may be stemming from workplace stress, the researchers examined data from U.S. employees. Authors cited findings that 70 percent of Americans report that their job is a major source of stress, and 51 percent said they believe their anxiety reduces productivity.

"It is estimated that healthcare utilization induced by stress costs U.S. companies $68 billion annually and reduces their profits by 10 percent," said Sharaf.

As a result, the study authors said that it may be reasonable to conclude that reducing workplace stress could be an effective strategy to lower healthcare costs nationwide.

First author Sunday Azagba said that improving working conditions and providing education on tools and resources for stress management may help keep employee benefit costs low. Additionally, reducing tension and anxiety among workers may strengthen employee performance, cut down on absenteeism and even help organizations retain staff members.

The researchers used data from the Canadian National Population Health Survey, which included workers in the mechanical, trade, professional, managerial, health, service and agricultural sectors. The scientists examined the participants' frequency of healthcare visits, chronic illnesses, marital status and income level, as well as smoking and drinking habits in order to reach their conclusions.  
   

Tips for workers on the brink of burnout

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News - Workplace Stress

Wednesday, 24 August 2011 16:00

Tips for workers on the brink of burnoutThere are several types of employees that experience job burnout, from the under-challenged to the overworked.

The Mayo Clinic reports that a burned out worker may also be excessively stressed, fatigued, depressed or anxious, as well as have trouble sleeping or develop substance abuse problems.

The medical source recommended identifying and targeting the root of burnout in order to address feelings of disengagement. Additionally, evaluating concerns with a supervisor may help both parties come to a solution or compromise that could alleviate workplace stress.

An article in FYI Living reports that employees who are prone to burnout should build a good relationship with their boss.

Telecommuting may also help break up the monotony of the workweek, or provide a much-needed break from stressful co-workers, according to the news source.

FYI Living also recommended that employees adorn their workspace with photos of family, friends and nature to help make a positive impact and provide some inspiration.

Additionally, employee wellness programs that provide tools and resources for stress management have been shown to effectively reduce workplace stress and strengthen employee performance.  
 

Certain personality traits may intensify workplace stress

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News - Workplace Stress

Wednesday, 24 August 2011 16:00

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Certain personality traits may intensify workplace stressTension and anxiety in the office are difficult enough to reduce without staff members' and managers' negative attitudes. Every workplace has one of these individuals, who take a bad situation and makes it worse.

The Seattle Times recently reported that there are ways to identify people who tend to suck the positivity out of a room.

First, they often dwell on bad news, according to the news source. Moreover, it can be difficult to cheer them up with solutions or motivational words.

Additionally, problems tend to snowball for these individuals, becoming insurmountable issues that another person may have nipped in the bud, according to the Times.

An article in Psych Central reports that stress and personality are inextricably linked to how a situation is handled. For instance, when confronted with an issue, the person who tells themselves that it is manageable is much more likely to succeed in solving the problem than the worker who has an intense negative reaction.

While it may not be a viable option to let go of these workers, they may be helped with employee wellness programs that provide tools and resources for stress management. Such initiatives have been shown to reduce workplace stress as well as improve employee performance.  
   

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