A lot of time at work you might experience an angry or irate customer so I thought I would be a good idea to write about stress awareness for coworkers. When you work as a team I think it’s important to look out for these things in each other and help manage situations. It is a good idea to consider implementing some of these in your workforce especially if your workplace does not include training on dealing and coping with stress.
SIGN TO RECOGNIZE FOR STRESS
-Taking longer to complete a task
-Feeling overwhelmed / overworked
-Feeling paralyzed (including inability to respond or form thoughts) Having chronic pain Loss of interest in activities that used to be of interest
-Being irritable or annoyed at slightest of things
-Change of daily routine
-Problems at home or personal life
-Life changes (birth, death, marriage, new child, retirement, new house, sickness, military deployment or return)
-Was in a recent stressful situation
Sometimes stress can be a good thing and is not always a bad thing.
I know that when I have issues that affect me I may hint at them or feel overwhelmed or paralyzed. I may be irritated or I may take longer to complete a task.
Some will deal with this by talking it out. Some will need quiet time to process this mentally and let it work itself out. To each their own, meaning each person has their preferred coping mechanism.
Please keep these in mind so you can recognize these and other indications and look out for one another as they don’t always show up immediately.
Thanks for working together for a better workplace! 🙂
Are you stressed?
•Inability to concentrate
•Seeing only the negative
•Anxious or racing thoughts
•Depression or general unhappiness
•Anxiety and agitation
•Moodiness, irritability, or anger
•Loneliness and isolation
•Other mental or emotional health problems
•Aches and pains
•Diarrhea or constipation
•Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
•Loss of drive
•Frequent colds or flu
•Eating more or less
•Sleeping too much or too little
•Withdrawing from others
•Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
•Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
•Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)
If your workplace does not have a workplace stress coordinator, consider creating what I call a “Life Transitions Coach” to mitigate stress levels for high traffic customer oriented positions that deal directly with the public which can result in heightened tension levels. Some workplaces may have assistance programs that may or may not be made such that the employees take full advantage of it. Also employees may fear reprisal or fear shame for admitting they have a problem. So integrating this into a regular routine as part of its normal protocol would be possibly helpful and would need to be tested.
An example of tasks of a Life Transitions Coach. They would come around on a weekly basis during peak traffic times and talk to the group to introduce what they do and also sit down on a weekly basis with each team member to discuss how they felt, things that felt needed to improve or needed to be addressed. Personal and business related and spend roughly 20 minutes per individual.
-Life transitions include:
-A birth in the family,
-A death in the family,
-Loss of job,
-New position with the job such as promotion,
-Long term terminal diagnosis of family member
-Marriage in the family
-Return from military deployment
-Recovery or rehabilitation
They would keep all conversations strictly confidential in a private professional location where other coworkers would not be allowed to hear the conversation. No notes would be written down during the contact and just allow the individual to relay what was going on emotionally and get feedback or be heard. This would have to be screened to prevent gender inequality or harassment or abuse.
The Life Transitions Coach would relay back to the manager only a group assessment of certain things but nothing personally identifiable such as “This week went well everyone seemed to have no concerns” or “A few employees had concerns about traffic flow in the office” to “A employee was having difficulty with things at home and seemed to be using more expletives when they don’t normally do so” or “An employee seemed to disturbed or unsettled or distracted or disoriented about something at home but said it was just something to work through” or “An employee said they argued with another employee for the third time this month”. The life transitions coach can be the eyes and ears to help do a “morale assessment” when they do a walk through in the morning weekly accompanied with the manager when the manager does their daily routine and reviews to see if there is any disparities.
This would be eight weekly sessions from during the busiest times of the year and then periodic or seasonal availability depending on what was happening within the group such as multiple management turnover or multiple retirements for example.
The purpose is twofold: to provide an ombudsman for employees who do not have a social support structure or provide an independent relay to provide information regarding group morale to management.
This would also be consistent with the if you see something say something philosophy only this must be done in a way as to individually single out any individual or breach confidentiality of trust or shame any individual or groups of individuals especially in today’s grievance filing and litigious culture. The program should not be “soliciting for” problems or leading the individuals since what we look for may end up skewing the survey and causing an issue to appear where none existed. A weekly employee card survey also might be useful to accompany this at the end of the week to reassess weekly morale and would be offered separate from the “counseling and listening” session.
This is not to provide a replacement for on the job assistance programs or professional psychiatric help. And should not be advertised as such. It is to provide help and be an initial risk assessor for those employees that may need additional support such as those going through a death in the family and need a combined decompression from home and work. And they may seem angry at work or fellow coworkers. It can be used also for people recovering from alcohol or substance abuse and those that may be feeling depression. These are risk factors that when addressed early can addressed by the manager simply to the group as a whole as needing to take a vacation or taking use of the assistance programs that are available.
The Life Transitions coach also helps individuals with new family members (adoption or birth) on where to find information on how it can affect them such as change in W4 and certain basic administration or where to seek -financial help-. This is especially helpful for struggling families that may be experiencing economic hardship.
Another good example is retirement where the coach is assigned to check up with the employee and work with manager to ensure a success transition. They would check in a year, six months, 3 months, a month and day of to help them with paperwork if needed, check on stress levels and notice anything else like if the employee felt stressed or any other behaviors. This can help maintain current work level quality through the transition period as well.
Again this can be integrated into any job and there could be something like a Chief Morale Risk Assessor to see how the “school of fish” is operating as a whole.
In no instance should any thing be made to suggest “a requirement” to seek services or professional help through the job or outside of work. Only a suggestion to provide that there are services available and with free consultation services or that employees are provided paid vacation and to take advantage of time off.
This can be useful for people that end up stressed from work and have domestic abuse, divorce, death in family, coworker bullying, and people with a family history of depression and anxiety and allow an avenue for release.
Though no program is designed to be perfect it is can be one way to gauge and mitigate risk. Each employee should be encouraged to respect their fellow coworkers and have a pleasant productive working environment free from harassment or coercion and though we try to separate work from our personal lives we know that everything ties together as one.
Of course since the Life Transitions Coach will be listening in on problems they themselves will need someone to work with them as well since all assistors dealing with people and problems all day long will need to decompress as well. This position probably requires a specialist good with people and knowledge of basic human psychology and who is tactful and diplomatic.
The Life Transition Coach can also facilitates employees in meeting some of their critical job obligations.