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Putting Work Stressors into Perspective

New York, NY – There are three main stressors that exist in our worklife. First and foremost is the physical stress. Secondly, there are the stressors that impact a worker’s mental, professional and behavioral fitness. And thirdly, especially for trades workers on construction sites, the stressor of weather-related elements.

Unfortunately, the last year has added new challenges that extend further than the typical pre-Covid experience. Nevertheless, the main stressors we find in life are job changes, financial concerns, loss, divorce, chronic illness or injury, death of a loved one and quite simply the unrelenting force of life beyond our control.

There are new stressors and concerns on today’s worksites. New protocols and new obligations towards personal safety. However, aside from the common physical stressors are the viral concerns of Covid-19. There are protocols in place, but with no pun intended, a slip of the mask can lead to a possible Covid outbreak. This has happened and resulted in worksite shutdowns and missed completion dates.

Next are the list of personal concerns and opinions, which have infiltrated work areas. This has added mental strains to the basic worklife. It should not go unnoticed that long hours and time away from home during the pandemic has left an impact upon us all. In any profession, whether the job description is physically demanding or mentally incumbent, the stressors of the current work climate have created a sense of unsteadiness in the workplace. Additionally, the workplace is now extended remotely; therefore by extension, workplace stress has also turned into home-life intrusions. This, too, has led to some behavioral and performance changes amongst co-workers. Put simply, to work at our best means to be at our best.

Political views have severed working relationships, reducing the synergy amongst teams. However, the reduction in Covid infections and lower hospitalizations, along with increasing inoculations, there is hope for a new picture which might alleviate concerns.

As the world looks to adjust to the new normal, workplace health and wellness is imperative. “Safety first” means more now than ever before. Therefore, work safe, work smart and work accordingly. Keep away from the gossip and avoid political debates on the jobsite. Understand that there are different views, in which case tolerance might not always be available. Subjects of inclusion are not always inclusive of opposing views or debates, which is why it is valuable to remember that diversity in the workplace and cultural competence is a strong skill. Therefore, to avoid the noise of arguments, it is helpful to separate our opinions from performance.

As a means of improvement, we can direct on our efforts and output, not the outcome or the output of others. Until we find ourselves on the other side of a post-Covid world, understand that we are all in this together.

In the current times, we are a country looking to recover. We have an economy to recover. We have jobs to recover and businesses to reopen. In fairness, everyone is recovering from something. No one has escaped loss over the last year. Therefore, it is also equally valuable to understand the word “Union” means to be united. Not divided. United we stand means to be Union Strong, which means save the arguments, work safely and stay healthy. Anything else is just arbitrary. . . .

Ben Kimmel is a proud member of the IUOE Local 94, as well as an Author, Writer on thewrittenaddiction.com, Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Certified Addiction and Recovery Coach, Certified Professional Life Coach, and Peer & Wellness Advocate.  Ben can be reached at bennyk1972@gmail.com

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