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Office fear is real: Here’s how to address it

Don’t let office fear take a toll on your employees and business. Here’s how to relieve it

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Some people think too little about fear in the office, but the effects of this psychological stress are all too real. The simplest explanation of office fear often stems from workers fearing the worst of their jobs such as disappointing management, losing one’s job or getting stuck in a position, among others.

Though many would argue that it’s all in one’s mind, there is evidence indicating how damaging such fear could be. In the U.K., for example, companies lose 24 percent of their workforce from stress, anxiety and depression.

In a study conducted by the American Institute of Stress (AIS), the major source of anxiety among individuals is work, and most often, the stress comes from a demanding workload and having little control over it.

This problem has brought about a number of physical effects as well, including chronic conditions like hypertension, heart attack and obesity.

Major cities like Los Angeles and New York are aware of the connection between job stress and heart attacks. For instance, a heart attack afflicting a police officer during or off duty is considered to be a work-related injury, and the officer gets compensated.

This situation speaks so much about the culture of one’s office, and it is important for the company administration to address this problem consequently. So what should be the steps taken?

Encourage thinking before reacting

According to Business.com, one of the best ways to address office stress or office fear is to think before we react. Most of the time people choose between fight or flight when faced with a stressful situation.

By instilling an environment where people are encouraged to be calm and respond accordingly instead of reacting without thought, a company can abate a stressful environment. The website encourages this by first listing down possible solutions to a problem and then presenting it in a formal environment.

Remind the team that every insight is important and that a company survives by working as a team. This is a way to encourage everyone to speak out and that no idea is wrong or should be kept by a team member.

office fear

The administration’s verbal commitments and behaviors should match their actions. (Source)

Establish trust in the workplace

Building trust is probably one of the hardest things you can do since it could cross the boundary between what’s personal and professional. The best way to create this trust is to instill the idea that what you say or tell your employees is what you are willing to do and strive to do well. Business.com refers to this as verbal commitments and behaviors that should match the action of the administration.

One way to implement verbal commitments is when assigning a team member his or her tasks and committing a timeline, the team member should be allowed to leave the office without any additional work. This sets an example that the management respects the individual time of employees and lowering unnecessary stress.

Citing a 2000 Integra Survey, AIS detailed that a stressful work environment manifests physically when employees started experiencing work-related neck pain, tired eyes and struggles in sleeping, with 62, 44 and 34 percent of the employees feeling the respective symptoms.

Stick to a process or routine

If you’re part of the company’s management, you should recognize a work process or routine that bodes well with the whole team. Business.com shares that a roadmap can give employees the right push and direction that clearly lays out the workload and timeline for the job, so they learn to anticipate and adjust well. Feedback and accountability should also be clearly established so people can speak out and relieve stress in the office.

So get rid of office fear and stress and introduce an environment of positivity. More than business and revenue, the steps mentioned above are a worthy investment you should be willing to compromise for your employees.

Andrew Ross is a certified gadget enthusiast. While not a science geek, he is interested in all things tech. He can live a day without pizza but not without his smart phone.

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