Join Arianna Huffington for an in-depth discussion in this video The impact of stress at work, part of Thriving @ Work: Leveraging the Connection between Well-Being and Productivity.
- I was in a workshop recently with a woman who's a senior leader in China for almost 70,000 people. We were talking about, okay, today everyone's just going to set your devices down, close your laptops. We're going to be here with each other. And she said, "I can't." And I said, "Yeah you can." "Nope, I can't." And she held her phone right here. And we were all laughing and we made it light. But I was teasing her, saying, "Come on.
"Set it down, you can do it." And what was interesting is by the end of the day, she actually put the phone down and got up and walked over to an exercise we were doing. And we stopped the room. We said, "Okay everybody, we have to celebrate this." We hug her, clap for her. It was a great moment for her. Well, what's interesting is her addiction to the device wasn't about a boss reaching her. It was about her wanting to be available for her people, that if anyone needed her she'd be there. So that level of responsibility also creates a level of stress, that you don't even feel like your people can do their day on their own without maybe needing you, and that you have to be there for them.
Part of the challenge is there's an environmental stress factor. There's more environmental stress in one day than our grandparents had in their lifetime. Part of that is because of our devices. I'm 57, so when I grew up, when I went home that was it. There was no, I was not connected to anything. I had a phone in my house that every once in a while, if I was lucky a girl would call. But I didn't have to deal with constant input.
So it was either watching TV a little bit, or outside playing with my friends, or you're done. So what's happened is with the advent of this 24/7 connectivity, people are always on. And so one of the things that we found, and as you look at how do you reduce stress there's several things. I think the advent of the mindfulness movement has come from this idea. How do we reduce stress? And so people have seen meditation being a key to stress reduction, and there's lots of science that shows us that.
But there are many other ways to reduce stress. And part of it is really beginning to take charge of your environment. We tell people, when do you unplug and recharge? When do you disconnect from those devices? And what we're finding over and over again, in many organizations all across the world, is that people are actually sleeping with their phones next to their beds, some even under their pillows because they want to be available to that boss or whomever may buzz them or call them throughout the night.
So when you think about one of the impacts of stress, one of the biggest things is people aren't sleeping the way that they need to sleep. All of the science tells us that you need to sleep at least seven to nine hours a night. There's a 1% of the population that maybe can sleep five hours or less, and 1% that needs to sleep nine hours or more. But for 98% of us, seven to nine hours is researched, scienced, proved necessary for our health and wellbeing.
So as we become more and more connected to devices, we become less and less connected to human beings. And that dynamic makes it even harder for us to relieve stress, because often a nice conversation will start to allow us to decrease stress. But if you're not in those conversations, if it's all being done electronically, you also don't get that level of relief.
- The importance of well-being
- Bringing your whole self to work
- Knowing your boundaries and limitations
- Investing in your relationships
- Working towards your strengths
- Knowing when to say no
- Holding yourself accountable to change