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DID YOU KNOW?

  • Just 1% dehydration has been found to decrease worker productivity by 12%. The more dehydrated the worker becomes, the further his or her physical work capacity degrades, with 3-4% dehydration bringing about a 25-50% decline in worker performance.
  • Every year 2 million Britons experience a health problem that they believe is connected to their current or previous work.
  • Stress and bullying are the two main causes of mental distress at work.
  • 50% of long term absences from work are due to mental health issues.

Stress Management: How To Reduce Stress At Work

The modern world can be a stressful place and often all the technology that we now have at our fingertips, that is supposed to make life easier, is actually adding to our stress levels and making the situation even worse.

Only a few years ago, if you were away from your workstation, had gone out for lunch or were at home, you could leave work behind but today things are very different and often there’s an expectation that everyone is contactable at all times.

Nowadays, there are emails, text messages, social media and mobile phones that are all difficult to escape. Our brains are busier than ever processing all the information that continually lands in front of us and deciding what to reply to and how to respond to it. It all takes up precious time, eats into our working days and adds to our stress levels as we attempt to multitask and keep an increasing number of plates spinning.

Several leading neuroscientists and psychologists now believe that our brains are not designed to multitask - and that includes women as well as men! When we start multitasking, all we really do is quickly switch from one task to another, without properly finishing anything.

The experts say that although multitasking makes you feel like you’re getting a lot done, it’s actually making us less efficient because of the time spent switching tasks. Multitasking can also increase the stress hormone cortisol as well as adrenaline, which causes scrambled thinking, so it’s no surprise that stress, depression and anxiety at work are on the up.

In fact, the latest figures from the UK’s Labour Force Survey, which is produced by the Office of National Statistics, reveal there were 487,000 cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2013/14 which accounts for a staggering 39% of all work-related illnesses. In total 11.3 million working days were lost to stress, depression or anxiety in 2013/14, which is an average of 23 days per case.

The reality is that stress can hit anyone, in any job, regardless of whether or not they are frantically trying to multitask and have a smart phone bleeping at them every few seconds.

All employers have a responsibility to manage stress levels in employees and encouraging people to take regular breaks is a great place to start. Providing a designated area, or outdoor space, where people can escape from their workstation, have a break and recharge their batteries will help to achieve this.

Employers that want to go a step further might also consider how they can encourage their employees to incorporate exercise into their working day. According to the Stress Management Society, exercise is the shortest route to a feeling of well-being and the organisation says it is one of the best stress combatants available. As a result, growing numbers of forward-thinking workplaces now provide cycling facilities, changing rooms and showers so employees can cycle or run to work.

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