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Posts for tag: stress

Want your staff to be happy? Here are the four components of happiness

There’s been a lot of talk about happiness and general well-being of late.  Here we explore the four components of happiness and ask if busy executives can ever achieve a happy state.

Workplace Happiness Cartoon

Unfortunately this is not an option in the real world

Since becoming the Conservative leader David Cameron has argued that we should be monitoring GWB (General Well Being) alongside GDP (Gross Domestic Product).  This is an idea possibly inspired by the Kingdom of Bhutan’s GNH measure (Gross National Happiness), but Bhutan isn’t facing huge state spending cuts and bailing out neighbouring countries….

Workplace stress – The silent epidemic

Research has shown that employers are unprepared strategically, unprotected legally, and underinsured with regard to tackling the growing phenomenon of stress in the workplace. Many simply do not understand its impact: they are either hoping it will just go away or paralysed with uncertainty as to how to handle it. 

One ill advised way of releiving stress!
One ill advised way of releiving stress!

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has estimated that half a million people in the UK experience work-related stress at a level they believe is making them ill, and up to five million feel ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ stressed by their work. The HSE estimates that stress costs U.K. organisations around £3.7 billion annually.

So what is stress? According to the HSE, stress is ‘The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed on them.’

Pressure is part and parcel of all work and helps to keep us motivated. But excessive pressure can lead to stress, which undermines performance, is costly to employers and can make people ill.

Why tackle work-related stress?…

Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Beers

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 Beers .

There is always time for a beer with friends

There is always time for a beer with friends

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was….

Sick and Tired

Take a peek around your office, who’s got bags under their eyes?  A recent poll revealed that lack of sleep is the biggest health concern for 42% of the population, with another 34% experiencing low-level general fatigue.

Have you ever fallen asleep at work?

Have you ever fallen asleep at work?

Our relationship to tiredness is paradoxical, a source of shame, indicating our inability to cope; but also a badge of honour, signifying the importance of our work, for some its become an ‘affordable’ status symbol.

In reality tiredness leads to irritability, either bad decision making or worse, procrastination, poor concentration and reduced creativity.  Fatigue also reduces our immunity leading very quickly to ill health.
Whilst short term absences have reduced in the past year as people look to preserve their jobs, more than a third of employers claim that absences for long-term sickness increased last year.  A recent survey of nearly 700 employers found that 36 per cent of those asked said long-term sickness, where an employee had been off for more than a month, had risen between 2007 and 2008.  Long-term sickness is believed to be the most damaging area of absence. It cost the economy £5.3bn in 2007, according to the CBI….

Performing under pressure

So far this year I’ve spent more hours than I care to remember trying to calm the nerves of fraught conference organisers.  Often days before the event has even started.

A great team performing under the pressure of live TV

A great team performing under the pressure of live TV

Today I spent the afternoon on the set of a live TV show.  With just two hours to air the production team managed to deal with numerous unforeseen crises calmly and confidently.

Much has been written about stress and its impact on individuals but this afternoon’s experience got me thinking about team stress.

It’s surprising how often we allow anxiety to build from within our teams, limiting productivity, stifling creativity and eradicating the fun from work….

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