Posts Tagged ‘stress’

Pets at work: there are benefits!

June 16, 2008

My cat Shmi helps me workAnimals are great – I love my cat Shmi and he makes working at my desk a joy. He comes and sits on my lap while I am typing and loves the printer.

It turns out there are actually benefits to having pets in the workplace.

An American Pet Products Manufacturers Association survey of businesses allowing pets in the workplace confirmed the benefits

·         73% of the companies surveyed said pets create a more productive work environment.

·         27% reported a decrease in employee absenteeism.

·         73% indicated pets led to a more productive work environment.

·         96 % said pets created positive work relations.

·         58% of employees stayed late with pets in the office.

This site also outlines “petiquette” (for dogs) including:

·         Make sure your dog is socialized to people and other dogs before he goes to work.

·         Make sure your personal workspace can comfortably accommodate your dog.

·         Avoid squeaky toys and collars that jangle.

·         Keep your dog clean and well-groomed.

If you can’t take your pet to work, they can lower your stress levels at home by:

·         Pets improve your mood and make you smile

·         Pet owners have lower blood pressure

·         Dogs encourage you to exercise

·         Watching fish swim can be a form of meditation and help you sleep

·         Having a pet gives you something to talk about with like-minded people so can help build social networks

·         Pets are great listeners and some are very empathetic. Crying will usually elicit a lot of sympathy from your pet.
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Office worker goes absolutely insane

June 12, 2008

This movie clip shows just how stressful office work can become…

I bet you recognise this office…
Is this you in 6 months time? In 6 years time?
Do you still want to be in this office then?

If you are ready to make a change in your working life, then check out the free workbook at


Work stress and ways to change the workplace

June 3, 2008

A new study in Australia has shown that nearly one in five working women with depression can attribute it to their job and one in eight depressed working men have problems because of work stress.


One key contributor is high demands and low control within a job, with people in lower paid roles particularly at risk.


This is nothing new. Studies like this come out every week. But the attitude of the VicHealth organisation is encouraging. Todd Harper (CEO) states “I think one of the things that we can do is to actually convince workplaces that this information is important, that they actually stand to benefit out of this because in a time of workforce shortage, the most valuable employees are the ones that you already have, keeping them healthy is the priority,” he said.
“Simply increasing the demands on staff comes with consequences and I think workplaces are aware of that, they can start to design their work in a more efficient and productive way.”


Here are some ideas for making the change to efficiency and productivity in the workplace. These will provide more control to employees which should reduce stress levels.


·        Make teams self managing and autonomous. Adults are self organising and will achieve given deadlines and clear roles and responsibilities.

·        Trust people to do the job without micromanagement. Managers do not need to go to all meetings. Delegate responsibility and make people feel they are valued.

·        Back up your team members. Don’t overturn decisions made by others if delegation of authority has occurred. This undermines confidence and displays a lack of trust.  

·        Give people the opportunity and encouragement to act creatively without fear of recrimination or blame in case of failure.

·        Embrace new ideas and reward people for submitting them

·        Treat people well and respect individuals for their skills. Don’t try to put people in boxes. Their job description is not the end of who that person is. Give people an opportunity to shine.

“Stress Buster” on ABC

April 15, 2008

There is a new TV show “Stress Buster” on ABC which is basically a reality TV show on workplace stress. Dr Niki Ellis states the problems we all know of and points out,
“we can do a lot to change things, in fact we must”.

This blog is not about listing all the problems of stress – this program shows it all and it is not a surprise to most of us.
I am interested in solutions.

Individuals can change how they deal with the situation. If management won’t change the workplace, then people need to change their behaviour or how they perceive their situation.

It is important to always focus on what can be changed personally, instead of dwelling on those aspects that are out of people’s control.

You need to build a protective buffer by managing stress positively.


The stress buffer provides a cushion around you, protecting you from being overwhelmed. It won’t stop stress happening but it will enable you to survive whilst you carry on with life.  
No-one else can change the situation for you so you need to find the best ways to deal with stress yourself.

Here are a few ways you can build your stress buffer.


·         Assess why you are stressed. If you can identify the situations or people that are stressful, you can then develop ways to avoid them or control the situation. For example, I get stressed if I find myself in a meeting without enough information to prove my point. I make sure I have prepared well enough that I am not put in this situation. What stresses you? How can you prevent these situations?

·         Use time management techniques. If lack of time is causing your stress, take control of your time. Say “no” more often. Discuss with your manager how much work you have as you may find it can be reassigned. Ask people to book your time rather than just dropping by. Shut down your email program for several hours per day so you can work uninterrupted.

·         Get some social support. This may be from your partner, your peers or work colleagues or even a third party like a work counselling service. You do need support when you are stressed, so you feel able to cope. Maybe it is just having someone to look after the kids while you have a walk or a rest one weekend.

In my book, “How to Enjoy Your Job”, the results of stress are discussed in Chapter 2, and the Chapter 4 focuses on “Coping with stress at work”.