Stigma and discrimination in the workplace continues to be a major issue, with international figures showing people would be unlikely to disclose workplace stress to their employer for fear of repercussions.
Mary Magalotti, highly respected psychologist and co-founder of Life Resolutions, a national network of psychology practices, today said digital disruption is now one of the leading causes of workplace stress and anxiety in Australia.
“For many years, the leading causes of stress in the workplace have centered around the need for people to work long hours, take on too much work, job insecurity and conflicts and issues with colleagues and bosses,” Mary said today.
“While these pressures and worries still exist, the most concerning, emerging issue relates to digital disruption. We are seeing an increase in the number of people wanting assistance to deal with challenges involving new technology in the workplace, who don’t feel comfortable raising their concerns with their employer for fear of retaliation or job loss.
“Many people are finding that the way their work is being undertaken is changing. New computer and online systems are being implemented to improve efficiency and the delivery of real time outcomes. A lot of activity is being pushed to the cloud.
“As a result, work is changing and people are having to learn new ways of working. This is creating a new level of stress, particularly for those who are used to operating a particular way. This can create a lot of stress and anxiety for those who are not “computer savvy”.
“While some organisations are good at managing organisational change and implementing change management programs and staff support processes to help ease their workforce through the transition, others are not so good at it. Despite this, there are key things people can do to support themselves to deal with increased stress or change in the workplace.”
Mary has put together a priority list of steps to assist people dealing with workplace stress.
- Track your stressors. Keep a record of your work activities for a couple of weeks in a diary or note pad and jot down what situations or activities caused you the stress and how you responded to them. This will help you to understand how your job is affecting you
- Review your notes at the end of the day to work out how you could have responded differently to the situations. This helps to create response or coping strategies
- Identify how you can better manage the impact on yourself and whether there is a way to establish boundaries around what you do and when. For example, asking yourself whether certain activities can be done at different times.
- Find time in your week to take time out, recharge and disconnect with work. Whether this involves going for a walk, catching up with friends, or doing something in the community, make sure this is factored into your diary
- Identify ways you can relax during the week and make sure you do these things without fail. This can involve watching Netflix, doing yoga or reading a book
- Be proactive in working through solutions in the workplace and speak with your manager about how you can improve working arrangements to better support your role and responsibilities
- Eat well and take care of your health and wellbeing. Make sure you are supporting your physical health with good food and supplements where needed
- Reach out for help
“The reality of digital disruption in the workplace is that not only are people feeling insecure and anxious because they have to learn new systems and processes, they are also finding the increased levels of real time accountability and performance visibility highly stressful,” Mary added.
“Workplace stress, particularly if it continues for an ongoing period of time, can be extremely damaging to your mental health.
“Stress can also contribute to the development of other issues such as physical health issues like high blood pressure, insomnia and reduced immunity.
“Stress can also lead to anxiety and depression or cause existing conditions to worsen. Unfortunately it can also affect how we relate to and engage with others. Stress can affect our attitude, mood and even cause fatigue and burnout.”
Established in 2001 by respected industry duo Mary Magalotti and Jodie Brenton, Life Resolutions is a national group of psychologists and allied mental health practitioners with a strong commitment to providing Australians of all ages and backgrounds with the highest standards in counselling and professional care.