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HUMAN RESOURCES ❖

Managing Stress Key To Success

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34 Bakersfield Magazine

One of the focuses of this issue ulcers, high blood pressure, etc. As certainly helps us understand that an employee’s overall health and pets can add joy to our lives and, in self-esteem deteriorate, so does many cases—in ordinary times— workplace performance, resulting help reduce stress for some of us. in, according to the same article in However, it doesn’t take a rocket HR Magazine, “decreased producscientist to know that we are defitivity, poorer work quality, distracnitely not living in ordinary times; tion, apathy, illness and increased one peek at the newspaper and/or absenteeism.” This will reflect in a glimpse of the evening news lowered satisfaction of clients, will quickly convince you of that and a weakened bottom line. sobering fact. We are currently So, just what can managers treading in uncertain economic do to help this situation? First waters and many individuals are of all, lend a sympathetic ear, as experiencing unprecedented and By Holly Culhane, SPHR appropriate, and listen to your overwhelming stress, such as they employees. Communicate that the may not have suffered prior. But employers may company wants to help in any way possible. Make be able to ease the stress a bit. The key, as it is to sure supervisors are trained to recognize tense so many things in life, is communication. situations and employees who may be “at-risk.” In recent years, workplaces have become more Be sure employees are aware of any EAP services involved with stress management as the line be- and encourage them to take advantage of these tween office and home began to blur and work/life programs, making sure they understand it doesn’t balancing became an issue for both employers and indicate signs of weakness or failure on their part. their workers. Over the past couple of decades, Also, provide information that may be useful to companies recognized the need for providing stress struggling individuals such as information on loan outlets and began to offer such things as Employee modification programs, workshops on how to Assistance Programs (EAPs), wellness services, manage money, and seminars to explore positive, and/or even flexible hours or telecommuting op- relatively cost-free activities in which to participate tions for employees. These services, coupled with with one’s family. If employees are concerned about individual efforts including reading stress manage- retirement savings accounts, offer information and ment publications, yoga classes, brief relaxation education to help them understand options they breaks, meditation, etc., may be adequate in ordi- may have in this area. Communicate through enary times but, unfortunately, fall woefully short mails, management blogs, company newsletters, in this taxing era of layoffs, plant closures, home etc. Ask employees for advice on cost-cutting foreclosures, and staggering debt-loads. measures for the company...and then listen to what A recent article in the May 2009 HR Magazine they propose. titled “Workplace Stress? Deal With It!” explains, Local licensed marriage family therapist, Pat “Today’s stresses are not conventional. Today’s Bentley emphasizes, “Employees need commuworkplace stress is generated in part by fear of nication with others who share similar concerns. the unknown, as opposed to the usual stress of Whether via company-sponsored programs or deadlines or people conflict and so forth.” The informal group meetings, employees will be less writer further states management must be involved likely to isolate with distorted thinking when they in “communicating what’s happening, what’s know others can relate to them. When employees expected, and reducing these fears.” experience stress that begins to feel unmanageable, Unfortunately, employers sometimes think they or if they are trying to cope in less desirable ways, should remain silent on aspects of employees’ lives (i.e., drinking/eating/sleeping too much or too little) over which they have no solutions. For example, they may need some professional assistance. Again, they believe if they openly recognize many workers a professional can help open the doors to better are faced with overwhelming economic pressures, communication as well as teaching the individuhome foreclosures, etc., they will be “opening a als to reframe the way they think. When stress is can of worms” and forcing employees to dwell on building inside of us, the key is to ‘dump the trash these issues. The fact is the employees are already can’ before the trash begins to rot. Connecting with fretting about these matters and when management friends, family, colleagues, and possibly professionignores them, seemingly pretending as if every- als will be a first step toward this end.” thing is rosy, the problems are actually exacerbated Most importantly, let everyone know that by the company appearing as “uncaring.” management cares about each individual and Because these are indeed trying times, individu- understands they are making huge sacrifices at the als’ stresses cross over between the workplace and moment and are dealing with horrendous pressures. home. Financial worries, in part possibly caused by Assure them their efforts are appreciated and will the employer, can affect performance on the job, as be remembered when things turn around and the well as irritability at home. Often, people respond economy improves. Communicate that we must all to stress with unhealthy activities such as overeat- help each other and provide the support necessary ing, abuse of alcohol and/or tobacco products, or to weather the current financial storm. even violence. Obviously, this compounds the problems further and can lead to debilitating con- Contact Holly Culhane of PAS Associates for ditions such as depression, heart disease, stomach your human resource needs, (661) 631-2165.

Bakersfield Magazine • 26-2 Man Issue  

Men, Pets, Medical Specialties, and All the Rest of Our Regular Features...PLUS Foodie Tour II - Punishment for Glutons!!!

Bakersfield Magazine • 26-2 Man Issue  

Men, Pets, Medical Specialties, and All the Rest of Our Regular Features...PLUS Foodie Tour II - Punishment for Glutons!!!

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