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Managing stress in your work environment

What are the hidden causes of stress in your life?

A 2013 survey commissioned by the American Psychological Association found that sixty-one percent of American adults say that managing stress is extremely or very important — and yet only 35 percent say they are actually doing a good job of managing it.

Perhaps part of the problem is that we don’t really have a handle on the sneaky factors contributing to stress. And, of course, if you don’t know what’s stressing you out, it’s hard to fix it.

There are the obvious stressors: A difficult boss, terrible traffic jams, or a serious health problem.

Then there are less obvious stressors. A recent article in The Washington Post highlighted six surprising sources of stress. Indeed, one of the stressors did relate to work — but not in the way you might think. It’s not about scary bosses or overwhelming workloads. It’s about your work environment.

At home, open floor plans are all the rage. At work, however, such an arrangement can significantly increase stress levels. Australian researchers recently conducted a study concluding that:

 

-“Satisfaction with IEQ (Indoor Environmental Quality) changes depending on the degree of workspace enclosure;” and

-“Noise and privacy loss [are] the main source of workplace dissatisfaction.”

 

That’s right — the main source.

If you’re at work right now, take a moment to look and listen. Is your workplace conducive to focus and productivity? Or is there a cacophony of sounds and distracting sights? If your answer is the latter, consider whether that’s contributing to ongoing stress in your life.

And if you don’t remove the stressor, even one hundred yoga classes can’t remove the stress.

Food for thought.