Preventing Stress and Anxiety in the Workplace
Workplace stress comes from different sources and shows up in different ways regardless of your job title or position in the company it often is found in both employees and managers. The usual stress that comes with the job includes deadlines, expectations and the general flow of business and the fact that everyone is human and mistakes do occur. When times are economically challenging such as in today’s society, the job stress becomes intense and can influence many different aspects of a person’s behavior, mental, emotional and physical health. There are several different causes of workplace stress and thankfully, there are solutions for reducing or removing the stress of these so that you can stay healthy in your job.
Stress and Anxiety Symptoms
The physical changes that occur when stress and anxiety symptoms are present include the following an increased flow of blood to the brain and larger muscle groups to allow for greater movement and increased mental alertness; the digestive and immune systems are slowed temporarily; a sharpening of hearing and sight will occur. Glucose and other energy reserves will be released into the bloodstream to be available if needed.
First of all, there is the stress caused by the workplace environment, especially if you are working in an office. Many offices are not designed well or may be in older buildings that have issues with heating and cooling. There is a renewed effort to reduce the indoor problems with heating and cooling systems, often a cleaning once or twice a year of the furnaces, air conditioning and ductwork will reduce the chance of employees becoming sick from the bad air.
Managers who take active steps to work with the regulations for a safe and healthy workplace generally tend to have happier employees, these include stress management in organizational behaviour information. It is a good idea to encourage employees to take their allowed breaks. The workplace itself needs to be orderly and clean, with applicable safety measures in place. Office equipment needs to be kept in good working order because one of the most stressful parts of an office workers job is when the copier has paper jams after every other copy or other important equipment is malfunctioning. Encourage the employees to keep their desks orderly and reduce clutter. This will help them to remain focused on their job and not become distracted.
One of the areas where most of the workplace stress is found is the arrangement of the computer monitor, desk, chair and telephone. The positioning and height of these matter a great deal to your comfort when working and if they are not adjusted to fit you, problems with your back, neck, shoulders and legs can develop. Most of the workplace stress and anxiety in office type jobs can be traced to one or more of these not being used in an ergonomically correct fashion.
Starting with the desk, it should be at a comfortable height to work at and allow your chair to be adjusted either up or down. Many of the desks have built in trays underneath for your computer keyboard and mouse, this is good if you can get it adjusted right but often it gets in the way especially if you are tall. The best position for a keyboard to be in is around belt level, so that your shoulder does not have to carry the weight of your arm more then it needs to do so. When you have the keyboard or mouse in a wrong position, your upper shoulders ache and you develop pains in your wrists. If this is not corrected, you have the risk of developing carpel tunnel injury to your wrists.
Most people do not have their computer monitor adjusted for their height and to reduce stress. Your computer monitor should be adjusted so that your vision is between three and four inches down from the top of the monitor. If you have to raise it, usually two phone books or reams of paper will work best. This will help to avoid developing a sore neck.
Chairs are a bit trickier because you need to think of keeping your knees even, feet flat on the floor. If you are short, then you can find a slanting footrest to help keep your feet up and your legs parallel to the floor. This reduces stress on your hips and low back. When you put these tips together, you will end up with a better workplace where the physical stress of working at a desk will be reduced and consequently, you can be more productive and not lose as much time to sick days or chiropractic visits.
One of the most common stressors is that workers feel as if they and the job they are doing is not challenging them to use the skills and talents they have. Management could design the jobs and workload to be more compatible with the workers needs as well as the company resources. This could be done by involving the employees more in the decisions that will affect their jobs and brainstorm about how to work more effectively. Instead of seeing employees as influences on the bottom line meaning money is the most important instead of people is one thing to avoid because if the employees feel as if they have no value why would they stay.
There are too many companies who have little or no loyalty to the employees they have, thinking it is cheaper to train new people for a lower wage then to keep the ones who have been there a while. This is one of the major causes for stress, especially if the job is one that requires number different skills such as a call center would do. Sometimes part of the solution is to have an outside consultant come in and offer ideas on how to reduce the stresses between management and employees.
The economics of today require a concentrated effort to keep a job as well as meet all the needs of a family this is also a large part of the workplace stress and anxiety symptoms that many people are experiencing. Employees who are able to feel that their outside interests matter to the company they are employed by will be happier and stress will be reduced, it is just one way to use stress managament and stress management techniques.
These are just a few of the ways to reduce workplace stress, some stress management tips for you to explore; the place to start is in your own job and company by being aware and involved. Together, workplace stress can be reduced and the bottom line increased which increased the value of the company.