Positive Stress: 10 Ways to Turn It to Advantage: Whatever Else Happens in Our E-Commerce World, You Can Bank on the Certainty That 'Stress' Will Be a By-Product. So, Why Not Turn Stress to Account? (Mind Management)

By Donoghue, Charles | New Zealand Management, July 2003 | Go to article overview

Positive Stress: 10 Ways to Turn It to Advantage: Whatever Else Happens in Our E-Commerce World, You Can Bank on the Certainty That 'Stress' Will Be a By-Product. So, Why Not Turn Stress to Account? (Mind Management)


Donoghue, Charles, New Zealand Management


The advice used to be 'refurbish' or 'strategise' this or that, or take a 'synergistic' approach to managing opportunities. These were the 'in' words of the past two decades. The latest one is 'stress.' Too many people, it seems, are experiencing this transferable illness. We can be forgiven for thinking the outbreak of stress is reaching global epidemic proportions. Is there a cure? What can be done to ameliorate its effects? How can we eliminate or minimise it and turn it into an advantage?

Stress affects every aspect of our life, from the challenges of marriage, raising children in an environment of unparalleled peer pressure and drug abuse, to financial and work demand pressures. It increases anxiety levels, exacerbates anger and illness, and disrupts sleep patterns. Activity effectiveness is reduced and performance deteriorates rapidly, leading to mental and physical ill health and, in very extreme cases, to death.

From a business perspective, stress has profound negative impacts such as illness, absenteeism and, less visible equally damaging, bad decision-making, negative internal politics and communication and apathy. Absenteeism or negative activity generated by chronic stress can become one of the most rapid and damaging forces within an organisation. Seemingly minor incidents can escalate causing a domino effect. The work performance of other employees collapses as each individual struggles to deal with overload caused by having to deal with their own work load and that of absentee colleagues.

The British Heart Foundation estimates that 21 percent of all sickness absence in the UK is due to stress-related heart disease, which apparently costs the average UK company with 10,000 employees, 73,000 working days lost, the death of 42 of its employees (between 35 and 65 years of age) and $7.5 million in lost production annually.

To obviate these personal health and organisational profit destroyers, management needs to put the turn around of stress up there as a major portion of the annual training budget. With professional advice stress can be turned to account and marginalised as a destructive force. …

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