Friday, November 24, 2006


Keeping Workplace Stress At Bay

Workplace stress affects workers even in courtly and considerate Canada. In a survey conducted in 2001, 50 percent of Canadian workers cited the workplace as a major source of stress, up from 39 percent in 1997. Health Canada estimates the annual cost of stress to Canadian business at $10 billion in sick leave, a figure that may not even take into account the more serious longterm effects of stress on its victims.

The article below outlines the three stages of stress - the initial "fight or flight" reaction, then a continual feeling of anxiety, pressure and fatigue, leading finally to insomnia, depression and more serious disease. At the first stage, regular breaks for exercise and social interaction can relieve the symptoms, while by the third stage, vacation time, therapy and even anti-depressants may be required. The greatest difficulty is recognizing the onset of stress, which is felt differently by each of us.

According to the article at the link below, "the major stressors in the workplace are overwork, lack of control, lack of recognition and lack of information. Work overload is the No. 1 stressor..." Factors such as downsizing, interruptions, the complexities of a given job, and the demands of teamwork contribute to the problem. So do irregular work schedules and longer hours. "The average work week has stretched to 45 hours from 42 in the past 10 years," the author says. Half of Canadian workers take work home, and 65 percent of white collar workers check their voicemail outside of work. The author stresses that workers should learn to plan and prioritize more effectively, and keep work pressures at the office from spilling over into their home life. "Just because we can be in contact with the workplace 24 hours a day," she says, "doesn't mean we should be."

The best tools for warding off the effects of stress are regular exercise, a healthy diet, and getting a good night's sleep.

"Workplace stress can prove expensive hobby" from Business Edge

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