Work Environment Stress 

Earth Day Yoga

The work environment can be one of the biggest causes of stress for workers.

Whether you are a factory worker, working in noisy, hot places or an office worker in small cramped offices, it can all lead to a build up of stress on the workers.

Unfortunately in many cases there is not much that can be done, a factory worker can’t demand that the machines be turned off because they are too noisy. 

However there are always ways that things can be made more bearable and comfortable for the workers. So it is always worth speaking to management and making suggestions as to how things can be improved. 

The Main Work Environment Stressors

There are five main areas which are the biggest causes of workplace stress, they are:

Air conditioning and central heating

It is important that our working environment is not to hot or too cold to work in and so the installation of air conditioning and central heating systems is the norm. However these items in themselves can cause their own problems. Air conditioning systems re-circulate air and so it is not surprising that others things also get circulated such as:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Gases

Central heating although great for keeping the office warm will also dry the air out and this over time can affect our brains and cause us to become tired and less able to do our work.

TIP: Try to use natural ventilation whenever possible rather than using air condition, open windows and let new air enter the building.

Noise

Continuous back ground noise can become very wearing after a while and cause stress to build up. Factory workers are able to wear ear defenders to help reduce the level of noise but what about all those ringing telephones and whirring photocopiers?

TIP: make sure that office equipment is placed away from workers desks, in a separate room if possible. Also ensure that telephones rings can be turned down and that office screens are placed around desks to reduce overall noise.

Computers

There are not many work places where there isn't one sort of computer or VDU screen around. Physical effects of stress such as eye strain, neck ache and back pain can all be caused by long periods in front of a computer.

Tip: Ensure that you have the correct chair and desk for your situation and that you have been trained how to sit correctly in front of a computer. Also remember to stand up and stretch every 20 minutes, look out of a window or into the distance to help with eye strain.

Space

In the work environment often one of our biggest problems is space or the lack of it. However we are also affected by things such as office layout, personal space and privacy. Too isolated and we feel lonely, too cramped and crowded and this too will make us feel stressed.

TIP: Plan workspaces and allow personalization of areas i.e. potted plants and photographs. Provide some comfy seating areas for breaks and some partitions for privacy but not too many to cause isolation.

Light

Sitting in a dimly lit office all day can eventually cause eyestrain, it won’t be comfortable to work in and will make you feel tired and demoralized. Humans respond better to full spectrum lighting, similar to daylight. It will help to create an atmosphere of alertness and calm, helping with productivity.

Outside of the US? Find stress relief products in the UK and Canada.

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