Sunday, 18 September 2011 16:00It's no secret that anxiety in the office or work environment can have a detrimental effect on productivity and employee satisfaction, sometimes leading to turnover or poor staff health.
An article in The Daily West Metro News reports that managers should recognize the factors that lie at the root of workplace stress in order to cultivate a climate of healthy, productive workers.
For example, employees should have clearly defined expectations and responsibilities. This may include a document that lists the duties that a worker is supposed to perform, which can be especially helpful if a position has a tendency to change.
Additionally, managers should have realistic expectations of what their staff can achieve, as well as provide the tools and resources necessary to accomplish their tasks.
According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, employee wellness programs should be implemented logistically, in a way that is specific to workplace issues and tailored to a businesses organization. This may include delineating staff responsibilities to carry out a wellness program, so that the initiative doesn't become a source of workplace stress, rather than a remedy to the problem.
Sunday, 18 September 2011 16:00A vast catalog of research has suggested that stressed pregnant women are more likely to have babies with health issues or behavioral problems later in life. Now, researchers believe that negative effects in offspring may also be the result of fathers who experience chronic anxiety.
In a mouse model, scientists from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine observed that the babies of stressed male rodents exhibited signs of depression and anxiety.
"These findings in mice raise the possibility that part of an individual's risk for clinical depression or other stress-related disorders may be determined by his or her father's life exposure to stress, a provocative suggestion that now requires direct study in humans," said lead author Eric Nestler.
The researchers noted that this effect was not seen in rodents that were conceived through in vitro fertilization, which suggests that stress and anxiety are passed on through behavior, rather than genetics.
Results of this study suggest that staving off stress in dads may lead to a healthier new generation, and possibly reduce the costs of employee health benefits for workers who receive family coverage.
Wednesday, 14 September 2011 16:00The American Diabetes Association reports that an estimated 8.3 percent of people in the U.S. have diabetes, and the majority of these individuals are of working age.
According to a CNN Health article, stress - which people typically experience in the workplace or during times of transition - can have a detrimental effect on blood sugar levels and contribute to other risks already associated with diabetes, such as cardiovascular disease.
As a result, the news source recommended stress relief techniques to help individuals manage their diabetes symptoms and deal with the impact that the blood sugar disorder may have on their lives.
One example of a stress management technique is deep breathing, which is known to help people align their physical and mental states. Additionally, eating balanced, low-sugar meals and getting adequate exercise can both keep blood glucose steady and alleviate anxiety.
Considering the growing prevalence of diabetes in the U.S., it's likely that many workplaces have a significant population of workers with the disorder. As such, employee wellness programs that provide tools and resources for stress management may help keep staff members healthy and productive.
Tuesday, 13 September 2011 16:00Bullying or rudeness in the office has been in headlines recently, and for good reason. Incivility among co-workers can exacerbate workplace stress, increase absenteeism and even have a detrimental effect on employee performance, as workers spend more time dealing with personal problems instead of doing their job.
Charleston, N.C. news source The Post and Courier recently featured an article by doctors Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen, who gave recommendations on how to diffuse workplace bullying.
First, good manners don't just apply at the dinner table. Making kind remarks and holding back when feeling the urge to make a rude or defensive comment may help keep bullies at bay. Additionally, simply avoiding trouble-makers can be a good strategy, according to the doctors.
If bullying or rudeness gets to be a real problem, Oz and Roizen recommend talking to a supervisor to make them aware of the situation. Together, bosses and workers can develop strategies to ensure a civil office.
An article in Live Science reports that workplace bullying can be more detrimental and disruptive than sexual harassment.
"Targets of severe workplace bullying are suffering from physical and psychological conditions that would just drive even the strongest of us into the ground," said David Yamada, of Suffolk University Law School in Boston, quoted by the news source.
It's likely that subjects of rude behavior and actions, as well as the bullies themselves, are experiencing high levels of anxiety. As a result, employee wellness programs that provide tools and resources for stress management may be in order.
Monday, 12 September 2011 16:00Sometimes, a bereavement period is not enough to help workers heal from a significant loss. After coming back to work after a short time off, some employees may experience high levels of workplace stress as they continue to experience grief on top of carrying out daily responsibilities.
As a result, some extra help may be needed. Stress expert and author Lauren Miller said that methods meant to relieve anxiety can be helpful for the bereaved, since the physical reactions to trauma can be similar to those of stress.
"When trauma of any kind enters into your life, your body goes into a freeze. Your breathing becomes shallow, your left brain stops communicating with the right brain and you experience a 'deer in the headlights' response to life," Miller said.
This suggests that employee wellness programs that promote holistic and healthy ways to alleviate stress could be helpful to workers in more ways than one.
Healthy living and stress management have been shown to be powerful tools in maintaining a positive mood, staying focused and dealing with the everyday stressors of life, in addition to those that pop up unexpectedly.
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