Thursday, 28 July 2011 16:00Workers who tend to worry a lot may show it in different ways, with some taking proactive measures to solve problems and others choosing instead to criticize an organization for perceived shortcomings.
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University and Penn State University found that the different ways in which people express their inner fears may have a significant effect on their relationships.
“The worry may be similar, but the impact of the worry on their interpersonal relationships would be extremely different. This suggests that interpersonal problems and worry may be intertwined,” said lead researcher Amy Przeworski.
The team of scientists said that worriers tend to fall within four categories: intrusive, cold, nonassertive and exploitable.
For example, a person who expresses their troubles in an intrusive manner may tend to excessively interrupt other individuals in an attempt to ease their mind. Others may be passive in how they deal with their fears, and some may be cold and critical of those who they perceive to be the cause of their worries.
Employees who are overly worried may be in need of tools and resources to manage their workplace stress. Employee wellness programs that provide these have been shown to effectively improve employee performance while reducing tension in the office.
Tuesday, 26 July 2011 16:00A big part of reducing workplace stress levels is helping employees recognize the signs of overwhelming anxiety so they can take proactive measures to reduce or prevent the negative effects of workplace stress.
Nonprofit organization HelpGuilde.org reports that employees who experience chronic tension may be less productive than their calmer counterparts, and that stress can lead to mental and physical disorders.
Some of the more obvious signs of intense workplace stress include irritability, depression, apathy and loss of interest, according to the source. Additionally, workers may begin to feel fatigued during the day and sleepless at night.
Stress can manifest itself physically in the form of muscle tension, headaches, gastrointestinal problems and loss of sex drive, the nonprofit reports.
The American Psychological Association recommends that individuals take the warning signs of stress seriously. Recognizing the symptoms of intense stress can help people take proactive measures to manage their anxiety in a healthy way, possibly leading to better overall health.
Employee wellness programs that provide tools and resources for stress management may help workers become more cognizant of their mental state, which may, in turn, improve employee performance and lead to a healthier staff.
Tuesday, 19 July 2011 16:00New hires have a tendency to be a bit nervous during their first days at a company as they learn more about the job and get acclimated to the work environment. However, there are several things that an organization can do to ensure a smooth, productive transition.
A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Guelph and the University of Toronto suggests that structured orientation training and mentor programs may help new employees get comfortable.
Authors said that strong "on-boarding" strategies helped rookies become more engaged in their new positions. These may include detailed training sessions and exercises that help them establish a rapport with co-workers.
A safe environment and proper training are integral to employee engagement, which is also a key element in retaining talent.
"Companies benefit from boosting their employees' well-being. Helping new hires adjust at the start empowers them to achieve their potential later on," said researcher Jamie Gruman.
Introducing new hires to employee wellness programs early on may send the message that they are working at an organization that cares about keeping workplace stress low as well as ensuring healthy, happy, productive employees.
Monday, 18 July 2011 16:00In a study on male baboons, researchers at Princeton University found that the "alpha males" - those who ranked high in social order - experienced higher levels of stress hormones when compared to their lower-ranking counterparts.
Authors of the study noted that the finding may translate to humans, given the physiological similarities between the species. This suggests that employers at the top of a company's hierarchy may be dealing with higher levels of workplace stress than mid- or low-level workers.
"These results are very interesting because they provide insights into complex societies and have potential applications to human behavior and societal structures," said Kaye Reed, program director at the National Science Foundation, which funded the study.
Previous research has indicated that employees who hold positions of power may experience higher stress levels due to greater expectations, having to make difficult decisions as well as pressure to manage other workers.
Results of this study suggest that employee wellness programs meant to reduce workplace stress should be aimed at all workers - including those who sit in the big office.
Monday, 18 July 2011 16:00Most people know that a lack of sleep can lead to fatigue and confusion, but research that was recently presented at a meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies suggests that it can also cause people to place blame on others, sometimes even leading them to plot revenge.
A team of scientists said that sleep-deprived individuals often engage in "counterfactual thinking," a process by which they displace their aggression on others without taking into account how their own actions may have influenced a negative outcome.
"It may be that the sleepier you are, the more likely your musings are to be angry thoughts about how others could have done better," said principal investigator David Mastin, Ph.D.
Additionally, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock scientists said they also observed in these sleepy participants angry rumination and intent to exact revenge on their peers.
A hostile and vengeful workplace is prone to absenteeism, low productivity, high levels of stress and possible violent outbursts. As a result, employee wellness programs that address stress management as well as healthy sleep habits may help organizations create a happier, more productive workforce.
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