Does getting up to go to work in the morning fill you with dread? Are you counting the minutes until the weekend and then on Sunday you are dreading the Monday morning countdown?
Most of us have to work and we have to work for a long time. Some of us enjoy our work and others cannot wait until the day they have to work no more. No matter your feelings about work you can make the time more productive, less stressful and give yourself more 'me' time, which keeps you mentally sharp, more focused and more calm.
What is making us stressed out at work? What are the factors that contribute to a stressful workplace and what can you do to make it better? Those are the questions I will answer in this post.
First, we work very long hours.
In the culture that is America, we work longer than any other advanced economy. By mid-October we have worked as much as most other industrialized nations and still have more than 2 months to go. There are no laws in the USA dictating a minimum vacation though we do have laws legislating breaks during the work day. So while most countries get 4-6 weeks to start, many Americans start at 2 weeks and many people get none at all.
And what mystifies many foreigners is that often we do not take the few weeks vacation that we have because we live in a culture where being on the job is so highly valued.
Organizations are stripped to the bone with regard to human resources, which means more people are being asked to do more, and because of high unemployment, no one dare complain. Some expectations are unrealistic and if you acknowledge them as such and give best effort you can cut yourself some mental slack.
More than 180 countries in the world have some sort of federally legislated PAID maternity leave and we are among 4 or so countries that do not. Some employers offer it as a benefit, and msot of these are large Fortune 100 companies who compete for top talent. Most factory workers cannot afford leave. With no maternity leave, mothers can get very stressed on the job because not many women can afford to take 3 months (Family and Medical Leave Act).
We also have very little sick leave and it is often combined as part of our entire leave package so one sick day is one less holiday.
Not too many of us have the good fortune of working for a company like Google where workers are trusted to do their jobs and time is flexible and our ideas are given attention and recreation and food are easily accessible. Most of us work in disconnected spaces, worrying about our jobs in a time of high unemployment and get little recognition for our successes or appreciation for our best efforts.
SO WHAT TO DO??
Work is a part of life and it can be very stressful but it is not the stress that matters as much as how you deal with the stress you do have. Taking steps to destress and to cushion yourself against the forces of stress pay off in your physical and mental health and improve your effectiveness and efficiency at work.