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Aug 062009
Stressed Eric

Image via Wikipedia

Read about how to recognise workplace stress here

At home and at work there are countless things in our lives that cause us to become anxious and ultimately lead to stress. Things like our relationships with our family and our work colleagues, lack of sleep, a feeling of having too much to do and not enough time, not making the time to relax and unwind… the list is practically endless.

In the workplace stress inducing situations are rife. Common ones include strained working relationships, heavy workloads, long hours, unrealistic expectations, poor communications, insufficient or improper training or concerns about job security. Stress typically builds up when a variety of potentially stressful experiences combine to overwhelm us: when we perceive that we’re out of our depth and believe that we have little or no control.

One of the problems with trying to define exactly what causes stress is that its a subjective thing. We all have different stress thresholds and find different things stressful. Some people, for example, find the thought of changing jobs terrifying, while others relish the challenge such a change brings. What we find stressful  is a very personal thing.

The important thing is to recognise your own stress thresholds, and when your stress alarm bells start to ring, take steps to manage that stress before it starts to have a detrimental affect on your work, and more importantly your health. If you start to feel the pressure, here are a few things you could try to keep your stress levels under control.

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Jul 142009
Mental Health: Stress and Work

Image by xeeliz via Flickr

Life in the modern Ireland has become increasingly stressful. Stress, for example, recently overtook back pain as the single biggest cause of absenteeism in the Irish workplace.
For employers that’s a big thing. The Irish Small Firms Association (SFA) recently estimated that staff absenteeism alone could be costing small businesses in this country more than €800 million every year – pointing out that it was a conservative estimate and that the actual figure could top €1 billion. Stress also decreases the productivity of employees who make it in to work – so employers are hit by a double whammy.
For the individual employee increasing levels of stress in the workplace is also bad news. Although some stress at work is inevitable – even desirable, because the resulting adrenalin helps to keep us focussed, motivated and performing at our peak – too much stress has the opposite effect, and productivity tends to plummet. Another worrying aspect of stress is that it can, if left unmanaged, have far reaching implications not just for your performance at work, but also for your long term mental health.

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Jul 102009
My Work Space

Image by ForestForTrees via Flickr

Employee Assistance Programmes, or EAP‘s, are becoming increasingly popular in the Irish workplace, and are helping organisations to comply with new health and safety legislation, improve productivity and retain their key staff. But what exactly are they, where did they originate and how do they benefit the average employee?

In a nutshell a modern EAP is an independent, confidential counselling and referral programme offered to employees by their employer. In very basic terms the service provides an independent channel of support to helps employees identify and address professional and personal issues before they start to impact on their performance at work.

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