Work is making us ill. You would expect that to be true for people who mine sulfur in an active volcano
or those who man Arctic weather stations, but in truth, it affects everyone. In fact, workplace stress
have an emotional impact on a majority of people and even produces physical symptoms. This is widely
known, yet many employers rely on offering care to employees once the damage has been done. When
someone gets clinically sick, instead of reviewing their culture and practices in order to address the root
causes of stress, they are not given necessary attention.
It’s therefore up to each of us to manage our own working environment the best way we can.
Sometimes this means making suggestions on how the office or shop floor can be run better. In other
cases, it is ensuring that you have all the information and tools needed to do your job. It will ultimately
benefit you, as well as the company.
One of the greatest causes of strain, interpersonal conflict and wasted efforts in the workplace is
unclear communication, especially from managers to subordinates. While it’s nominally the job of a
superior to keep their colleagues informed about their goals, expectations, resources available to them
and so forth, not every manager has this particular skill.
If you find yourself in this position, then, keep asking questions until you understand exactly what is
expected of you. You must also keep notes so that the goalposts can’t be moved on you later on. It’s
important not to overdo the assertiveness, but you also don’t want to hear something like Oh, I
thought you understood… when you’ve already devoted hours to some task.
If you are thinking of some reality TV show right now, then, get that image out of your head. The idea of
making friends at work, even with people you don’t particularly like or have much in common with,
should never be to conspire against others. Instead, having an informal communication channel to other
departments can often grease the wheels when regular channels break down, when you need help
expediting a task and so forth. This is also an excellent way of being kept in the loop and you won’t be
surprised by things management has assumed that everybody knows about.
Make Sure Your Contribution Is Recognized
Every team has that one guy: too incompetent to recognize his own incompetence. He crows like a
rooster every time he manages to accomplish something without setting his hair on fire.
There’s a difference, though, between being pompous and obnoxious and making sure you receive the
credit due to you. When it comes to a team project or a creative suggestion, it may be very important to
log your work and even make arrangements to create a paper trail. Bosses and co-workers do,
unfortunately, sometimes steal recognition that should go to others. If this happens, it’s essential to call
them on their BS right away.
Find an Escape Valve
Some studies show that a few seconds of meditation may be enough for someone to regain their
balance and perspective. Other people prefer to shut themselves in the walk-in freezer and scream their
heads off. Whatever technique you find that works best for you, as long as its healthy, try to make sure
that it’s always available.
Very few things at work can’t wait for five minutes. Letting your internal pressure build-up to boiling
point, on the other hand, virtually guarantees that any decision you make will be the wrong one.