How to Tackle Office Stress
13th February 2010
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Companies need to make more effort to tackle stress, depression and anxiety in the workplace, according to NHS advisors. Simple steps like giving positive feedback, allowing flexible working and giving extra days off as a reward could cut the impact of these conditions by a third, according to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Bad managers were the single biggest cause of problems, the group claimed, and said companies were losing £28.3 billion per year in sick days.

NICE has released guidelines highlighting how employers and employees can work in partnership to improve mental well being within the workplace. Professor Mike Kelly, public health excellence centre director, said simple changes would improve the management of mental health in the workplace, including the prevention and early identification of problems. “By following these recommendations an average organisation of 1000 employees can expect to save an estimated £250,000 a year,” he said.

Tips on handling stressful situations:

1. Don’t take it personally: It’s unrealistic to try to figure out what the other person is feeling, thinking or going through at the time, so more productive would be to focus on yourself and your own work.

2. Breathe: Take a few deep breaths, right down to your stomach, stretch your body and feel energised immediately.

3. Manage your priorities: Determine what has to be done now and what can really wait for a few days. Write down a comprehensive To-Do list, schedule time in your diary and stick to it. Don’t be afraid to say No to colleagues when you are already overloaded with work. And if in doubt – check deadlines with your manager before assuming the worst.

4. Respond gracefully: It’s about how you choose to respond to a conflict at work. Don’t become the doormat or a victim of bullying or harassment, but sometimes walking away speaks for itself. Don’t spill your negativity behind people’s backs, spread rumours or treat others unfairly.

5. Relax and take a break: Take a holiday or even go for a walk at your lunchtime break. Have a 5-min tea break. Go to the shop and buy an apple (chocolates will make you feel good first but you will end up with an energy slump as sugar level dip quickly afterwards). Do some yoga or meditation and follow the first 4 steps.

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Tamara B

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