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article imageOp-Ed: Say what? Better communications for a healthier workplace Special

By Valerie Benguiat     Jul 25, 2014 in Lifestyle
When France declared that, by law, employees would have to unplug from their workplaces at 6 p.m. every day, everyone working a 45-hour week huffed saying "Well, I wish!"
But this idea of having time for oneself shouldn't be so otherworldly, for the sake of our health and the preservation of our sanity.
It's no mystery that longer hours of at the office reduce our productivity and are quite stressful. Stress is a direct or indirect cause of many illnesses — from simple colds to heart disease and clinical depression — that make us skip work.
Stress also creates tensions among coworkers: it's hard to stay amicable to the guy that is repeatedly keeping you from going home on time, and generally who can be her own pleasant self after a nine-hour working day? Gallup statistics show that lost productivity due to absence, illness and work problems costs U.S. companies more than $350 billion a year.
However, stress and long working hours are a symptom rather than the cause of inefficiency. Training for stress management is, in reality, psychology for stress coping. Not, as many claim, a solution to the problem. According to Forbes, Business Psychologist and Corporate Culture Architect Dr. David Gruder said: (...)many companies offer stress management programs in order to help their employees get better at tolerating unacceptable work loads, misaligned work-life balance, or a dysfunctional corporate climate.
To lower stress levels in the workplace, Chen Chunjie, current CEO of HROne China, said in an interview: Rather than stress management courses, managers and employees need to improve communications [in the workplace] and time management strategies.
Poor time management and lack of efficient communications may be the culprits behind those billions that are escaping big and small businesses. According to Mayo Clinic, better communication strategies help employees and employers alike control stress and cope better with any frictions at the office.
WheniWork.com founder Chad Halvorson said: Poor communication is really expensive for a company — especially in an hourly workforce. More often than not, staffing is budgeted down to the dollar and having the right people at the right place at the right time requires crystal clear communication. Without it, the performance of the entire team is adversely affected and customer service suffers.
Most of the time, hourly workforce — people who work shifts or off-site — has a shared advantage with a new way of working: away from headquarters. A person who doesn't need to commute to go to the office skips hours stuck in traffic that could be devoted to his work instead. If you commute 90 minutes each way — an average commute for today’s workers — that is the equivalent of 22 days a year. To put it another way, working from home saves you a full working month. But doing that does require constant communications to prevent the team from going astray.
People who work at different job sites throughout the day need clear lines of communications from their employer's home base. Since much of the work happens off-site, the employee may not need to go to headquarters except to get their assignments. With When I Work, all the jobs, shifts and assignments can be pushed to their phone. They can review their schedule, see what job is next, request to trade jobs with coworkers and provide their employee with all the details surrounding their availability, said Halvorson.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about Communications, Workplace stress, Stress disorder
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