Monday, 26 September 2011 16:00In an article on Forbes.com, contributing writer and career expert Lisa Quast stated that workplace stress is more prevalent now than ever, and poses a significant threat to productivity and public health.
She said that employers should recognize aspects of an office that may be contributing to tension in the workplace and be proactive in correcting them.
Primary ways to get to the root of stress include ensuring that workloads are manageable, deadlines are fair and that the flow of work and duties makes sense, Quast said.
Additionally, management training should be focused on staving off anxiety among staff members.
"This includes training on causes and consequences of stress, how to recognize warning signs of excessive stress, what managers can do to help alleviate job related stress, and how leadership style can affect employee levels of stress," Quast wrote.
According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, an estimated 40 percent of workers report that their jobs are very stressful, and about one quarter named their career as the biggest source of stress in their lives.
This suggests that many workplaces may be in need of employee wellness programs, which have been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety in a healthy, proactive way.
Monday, 26 September 2011 16:00Some employers may assume that since an employee is young, they are impervious to workplace stress and less prone to take sick days. However, a Daily Mail article suggests otherwise.
The news source reported on a study conducted by a nutritional supplement company which revealed that 72 percent of employees 30 and younger reported taking a sick day in the previous year, compared to 46 percent of workers older than 55.
Additionally, 86 percent of young staff members said they feel stress at work and 28 percent said they would take a day off because of it, while just 66 percent of older employees reported workplace anxiety and 15 percent said it caused them to take time off.
Previously, an article in The Guardian, another UK news source, reported that younger workers are more likely to develop mental disorders like depression as a result of workplace stress.
These findings suggest that organizations with young staff members should not overlook the benefits that can be gained from employee wellness programs that provide tools and resources for stress management.
Wednesday, 21 September 2011 16:00Preparedness is known to be a key prevention effort for stress, but researchers at Tel Aviv University recently established a psychological basis for why carrying out tasks routinely helps to reduce feelings of anxiety.
In order to reach their conclusions, the team of scientists examined the habits of basketball players, who often have ritualistic ways of playing the sport. For example, dribbling the ball a precise number of times before shooting.
"The routine they perform in the moments before shooting the ball is a method to focus their full concentration and control their actions," said lead researcher David Eilam.
Authors of the study said that routine behavior helps individuals reduce their stress levels by helping make the situation seem more controllable and predictable. Additionally - and this is especially true in the case of athletes - having the belief that a certain action will lead to success may help people actually perform better.
Results of this study suggest that workers should be encouraged to plan their daily tasks and given the freedom to carry them out how they wish. Also, employee wellness programs can help reduce workplace stress while strengthening employee performance.
Tuesday, 20 September 2011 16:00While the wonders of technology have made it possible to send messages to coworkers with the click of a mouse, an inbox that becomes inundated with demands and memos can quickly become more of a stressor than a convenience.
A Guardian article states that about 34 percent of employees feel stressed out over the number of emails in their inboxes. Those who did not feel anxiety over their volume of unread messages reported that they felt comfortable waiting up to a week to respond, which may not be good for business.
An article on Psych Central reports that there are many ways that workers can manage their email and reduce workplace stress.
First, be sure to utilize tools and labels that are built into most email systems. For instance, color-coding messages to prioritize them can help make the task of responding seem more manageable.
Additionally, set reasonable boundaries. One rarely has an actual need to check work email from home, and confining office tasks to regular workday hours has been known to reduce levels of job stress.
These findings suggest that employee wellness programs aimed at reducing workplace stress may be particularly useful in settings where the main mode of communication is email, which likely applies to most modern offices.
Tuesday, 20 September 2011 16:00Rudeness in the workplace may be a bigger problem than managers think, as a new survey reveals that one third of customers have been served by a worker so hostile that they would likely not return to the business, but respondents said they rarely make a complaint.
Moreover, the volunteers told the University of Southern California and Georgetown University researchers that they encounter this kind of service experience about once every month.
Authors of the study said that this kind of behavior is likely to have a significant impact on a business' bottom line, especially in retail shops and restaurants.
"Regardless of the perpetrator or the reason, witnessing incivility scalds customer relationships and depletes the bottom line," wrote the corresponding authors.
The researchers said the best remedy for this problem may be training to promote civility and anger management.
Since anger is sometimes the result of intense stress, especially in the workplace, results of this survey suggest that employee wellness programs may help administrators create a more productive, happier staff, not to mention improve a company's bottom line.
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