Ensuring a healthy and safe working environment for our contractors is a key goal for us, and the INDEX Wellness program is just one way we can help you focus on this. Each year in October, National Safe Work Month reminds us about the reasons why workplace health and safety is important, and it’s a good time to stop and think about the ways in which we can all look out for each other and be aware of our work environment. A safe and healthy workplace is a positive and productive workplace!
this week also coincides with Mental Health Week and for IT contractors, workplace stress is the most common health and safety concern. Risk factors for work-related stress can be hard to recognise and symptoms often go unnoticed or ignored. The negative effects of work-related stress are well-documented.
Stress isn’t always negative. Stress within your comfort zone can keep you motivated and able to meet new challenges in the workplace. However, whilst some workplace stress is normal, if it starts to exceed your comfort zone it can impact your productivity and performance, in addition to your physical and emotional health.
Risk factors for workplace stress include working long hours or overtime, time pressures, inadequate support from management, uncertainty around job security and unreasonable performance expectations.
How can you manage workplace stress?
Strategies for managing workplace stress are actually quite similar to the ways in which you might manage everyday stress. In particular:
Exercise regularly and eat well – exercise is a powerful stress reliever, and just 30 minutes of physical activity a day can lift your mood, increase your energy levels and relax your mind and body.
Get enough sleep – try to improve the quality of your sleep and aim to get at least 8 hours of shut-eye a night. We suggest avoiding stimulating activity prior to bedtime (like catching up on work or checking your phone!)
Build positive relationships in the workplace – keep the lines of communication with your co-workers open. Talking over a problem with someone who is both supportive and empathetic can be a great way to let off steam and reduce stress. A problem shared is a problem halved!
Prioritise and get organised – if you are feeling overwhelmed, tackle high-priority tasks first. Try to break projects into small steps and delegate where possible. Most importantly, create a balanced schedule between work and play.
Break bad habits – we can sometimes make work-related stress worse with negative thoughts and behaviour. Resist perfectionism, don’t try to control the uncontrollable, avoid negative-thinking co-workers and look for humour in the situation.
Of course, the first step in managing work-related stress is to communicate with a member of INDEX Consultant Care team. Your health and safety is our priority, and we want to hear from you any time you have concerns about your work environment.
For more information on National Safe Work Month and access to WHS publications and resources, visit www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au