Clearview National July 2016 - Issue 176 - Page 71

INSTALLERSUPPORT Stress Awareness in the Workplace When it comes to stress, work is said to be the biggest culprit. More stressful than relationship issues, money problems and even health worries according to Mind, which says that 41 per cent of people are stressed or very stressed in their jobs. Yet, apart from a small minority, we all need to work. So avoiding it is not an option. Nor is suppressing it. »»TRICIA WOOLFREY IS A COACH, therapist, trainer and author specialising in stress resilience, performance and productivity. She says: “Many of my clients say that they are dealing with stress perfectly well but there are clues which suggest otherwise.” IDENTIFYING THE SYMPTOMS OF STRESS Signs can include: • Getting more irritated than usual about small things • Working longer hours without a feeling of progress • Getting more headaches • More colds and flu as their immune system struggles under the strain • Feeling less decisive • Difficulty concentrating • Feeling more tearful or less humourful • Becoming more withdrawn • A change in habits: increase or decrease in appetite, alcohol on the breath or more cigarette breaks “Suppressing stress is a dangerous strategy because it can lead to burnout,” Tricia continues. “This is where an individual experiences so much stress that they become completely exhausted and unable to function at anywhere near the level required of a business, especially in challenging times. It typically results in being signed off with stress, for weeks or even months. “But why is work so stressful? The reasons can vary from person to person and business to business but these are the themes I experience with my clients: • They have less influence at work than over other areas of their life – when we feel in control, this lessens stress levels • Unworkable deadlines and unachievable targets give a sense of hopelessness • Office politics distracting from achieving results • Everybody wants to do a good job and if this goes unnoticed or is criticised, it can hit hard • Not having the right skills for the job • A types who are given too many boundaries • Not being given enough support or time • The ‘always connected’ nature of work means that it is hard to switch off, even on holiday • Cultural differences can create conflict and confusion • Stress is contagious – a stressed boss or colle