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Employees rank time pressures, deadlines, office politics and their bosses as the top stress-inducing factors at work, according to a new workplace wellness survey conducted by Eclipse gum and the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp).
In addition to mounting stress-inducers, employees who participated in the survey are spending more and more time in the office. In fact, 87 percent admit they typically work more than 40 hours per week, with longer days leaving more room for additional pressures and increased stress levels.
"The ability to cope with stress plays a large role in employee performance," says Mary Key, workforce leadership expert for the Institute of Corporate Productivity. "We found that 65 percent of respondents do not feel their organization is effective in helping them manage stress. That leaves stress management to individuals. While alleviating the time pressures or getting a new boss may not be an option, people can use small tools to beat daily stresses at work, like going outside for a breath of fresh air, closing their eyes while slowly counting to fifty or chewing a piece of gum."
While chewing gum may not have the same effect as a vacation, new research suggests it is an easy tool employees can turn to when they're feeling stressed. A study presented August 30 at the 10th International Congress of Behavioral Medicine examined the effects of chewing gum in response to a stressor and found that the use of chewing gum was associated with reduced stress, improved alertness and relieved anxiety.
Productivity experts at the i4cp recommend a few simple tips to help relieve office stress and increase employee efficiency:
Lighten up: Company-sponsored social activities can help take the edge off. Survey results showed that the more social activities employees attended, the less stress they reported.
Take a break: Re-energize before the next task by taking an afternoon walk around the office.
Bring it on: Chew a piece of gum. Research shows chewing gum results in an improvement in overall performance on multi-tasking activities.
Take advantage: Organizations provide hundreds of resources to help employees stay healthy and manage stress. Learn what programs your employer has to offer.