19 May, 2010

Stress in the workplace

With almost 20 per cent of employees surveyed admitting to calling in sick because of unmanageable stress levels, this is a problem that should be at the top of every manas agenda. Lisa Wynn, director and executive coach at Corporate Potential believes that this problem has always been an issue for businesses, but as this research shows it is increasing at an alarming rate. Lisa explains, For too long many employers have allowed excessive workloads, bullying and job security worries to play on the minds of their staff members, but this research shows it has to stop. Not only does this stress effect individual employees it also effects the business overall, with low motivation leading to low productivity and high stress levels leading to a high absentee rate. It is in every business interest to look after its employees, as essentially an organisation is only as good as the people within it. It is about time businesses took a hard look at their workforce to check if they are really happy. Employees also need to take a look at their own work-life balance. Do they allow themselves to take on too much work at a time? Do they work long hours because of this? Do they continuously miss lunch breaks? If employees took a moment to step back and take a look at how they can change the way they work and discuss this with their boss changes start to happen. Lisa offers some advice to stressed-out employees on what they can be doing to start making changes at work today: Project manage your tasks effectively – Create a project management system that really works for you. Perhaps each evening before you leave the office you can write yourself a list of everything that needs doing the next day and ensure you stick to it. This act of writing a smaller daily list allows you to prioritise well and effectively and also helps you see whether or not you have time to take on that extra piece of work being pushed in your direction. Take breaks In line with the research Mind is asking all employees to reclaim their lunch hour which I think is a great idea. Take regular breaks throughout the day whether it is to make a cup of tea, take a stroll up the road or simply step away from the computer to chat to a colleague, this will all help ease the pressure you’re putting on yourself and help your stress levels. Clear your subconscious mind – The human brain wants to conclude everything that it has started – so unfinished tasks weigh heavily on the subconscious mind. At the end of the working day it is vital to check back through your urgent list and make sure that you know that everything vital for today has been done. Then, make sure that everything else is written down on your planner so that the subconscious mind knows that it will be dealt with and that it is safe to switch off for this evening, confident that tomorrow is another day. Make the most of the journey home – Even if it is only a very short one. Slow down and smell the roses is a cliché but it works. Taking time on the way home to breathe out all the stresses and strains of the day is vital to arriving home happy and relaxed. Try this exercise as you travel home – firstly think about leaving the entire office buzz behind you when you close the office door. Breathe in and out a few times deeply and allow your shoulders to drop. Now think about this current moment – smile. Look around you and look for something to appreciate – even if it feels hard to do. Then the third and final step is to imagine walking in the front door at home. See yourself smiling at the family or your partner. See the relaxed expression on your face. Now hold onto that feeling all the way home. You are not as indispensable as you think – Yes there may always be mountains to do – so why worry about it right now. Your rest and relaxation tonight will leave you refreshed and far more productive tomorrow. Think about your evening off as an investment in tomorrow’s productivity. credit: www.onrec.com

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