Friday, August 31, 2012

Managing Stress and Balancing Work Demands

It has been reported that disability claims related to mental illness (including claims for acute stress reaction, depression, adjustment disorders, anxiety and PTSD) in the federal public service continued to increase last year and accounted for 48 per cent of all claims filed.

Stress: Among an Employee's Worst Nightmares

Has your job ever drained you to the point of emotional and physical exhaustion? Does this feeling of weariness go on for days, weeks, or even months? If so, you could be stressing yourself beyond the breaking point.

Longer-term or chronic stress — indeed, any significant amount of work stress — can have debilitating physical and emotional outcomes, and can wreak havoc upon an unsuspecting employee. It has been shown that stress occurs not only among those who are highly motivated and committed but also among those who are not. We also know that employees, both in the private and public sectors, may experience stress in varying degrees.

Job demands can create or trigger mental health problems, including stress and anxiety. As such, it is important for employees to learn how to recognize and to guard against factors that cause these problems, or to make adjustments to working conditions and practices that may be causing them.

Is your work stressing you out? Should you tell your manager?

Is it in the interest of the manager, to whom you report, to help you, as an employee, deal with stress in the workplace? The answer is a definite "yes".

Chances are, if managers are paying attention, they already know there's something wrong. They can sense the difference in your behavior in meetings, and see it in the quality or precision of the work you're producing. A manager may ask what's wrong or try to find out informally, but some may not know what to say even when they recognize that you may need help. In that case, it may be up to you.