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Workplace Stress And The Election

This has been the most stressful election in recent memory. When you add up all the stress-producing happenings going on in Hawaii, I think working people deserve a break when all of the politicking is over.

Have you seen any posters around the workplace pointing out that stress is harmful in the work environment?

Not likely. There are posters that say things like, “Don’t drink and drive.” OK, and if you do and get caught, you have to deal with some serious stress. Adding to the problem is a new one, “intexticated” drivers. These are people who can’t function a moment without being engaged on their smart phones.

There are so many external factors that trigger stressed-out workers, it’s hard to know where to start the repair. What about work schedules, pace of work, job security, after 25 years you find your new supervisor doesn’t like you and wants to “freshen” up the team? What about a workplace where the number and nature of customers change constantly?

Adding to the problem is how to reduce employee fatigue, and how to deal with the workaholics who feel driven to defeat every unreasonable deadline.

But no two people in the workplace react the same way to stress. Many workers are influenced by personal factors of which none of the other workers or customers is aware.

With all of the ramifications to deal with when handling stress in the workplace, the one that can put workplace stress over the top is a general election.

Who can deny that this has been a stressful political season? And it’s not over: candidates calling each other names and arguing with old friends about deficits and budget shortfalls – even the usually stable University of Hawaii at Manoa appears to have lost its way and can no longer separate politics and its public responsibilities.

The sad truth about the damage political stress can cause in the workplace is that it will not end when the election results are in. It’s a good bet that the spiritual injuries this election have caused with continue to surface for years. Workers will be pointing their fingers at each other with the “I told you so look” for years. And if Hawaii’s history is any indicator, there will be a lot of vengeance in the air from the losers.

It could be the we will be needing some anti-stress posters around town where everyone is smiling, giving a “shaka” sign, and helping senior citizens negotiate dangerous crosswalks.

And, as an added precaution, under any circumstances, don’t tell anyone whom you voted for.