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Navigating the complexities of workplace conflict and stress

Community Counselling Centre of Nipissing provides Employee Assistance Services

Given that most people will spend an average of 90,000 hours of their lives at work, having a healthy work experience is essential for overall wellbeing.

According to a new report by the US Surgeon General, toxic workplaces are detrimental to employee health. Chronic stress, a common result of toxic workplaces, can lead to negative effects on various organ systems in the body, disrupt sleep, increase muscle tension, impair metabolic function, and increase vulnerability to infection, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions. It can also contribute to mental and behavioural health challenges, such as depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and substance misuse.

The report also suggests that effectively managing workplace relationships is a key factor in maintaining a positive work experience.

The Community Counselling Centre of Nipissing (CCCNIP) provides Employee Assistance Services (EAP) to companies in Nipissing to help employees navigate the complexities of workplace conflict and stress. Employees experiencing workplace stress should call their EAP service.

If they do not have an EAP service already in place, they can ask their HR director to call the Community Counselling Center of Nipissing for more information.

One of the most important relationships to manage in the workplace is the one between employee and supervisor.

First, to build a positive working relationship, good work performance and honesty must exist. If a positive relationship is still difficult to achieve, employees should examine their attitudes and beliefs towards authority figures and consider if they are appropriate or if they are dependent on their supervisor.

For managers, effective people skills are essential, but many may lack them, causing stress for their subordinates. It is essential for employees to be aware of their strengths and areas for improvement and work to bridge gaps for the sake of the organization. This is often called "managing upward."

Workplace relationships are unique because they cannot be easily walked away from, and one does not choose their co-workers. Every workplace has a distinct culture, and there is incredible diversity at play. Understanding hierarchies, both documented and undocumented, is essential for effective navigation.

Conflict in the workplace can arise from various sources, such as miscommunication, competition, a stagnant work environment, workplace change, annoying habits, unclear work expectations or weak leadership. Dealing with workplace conflict requires getting to the bottom of what is causing the problem, communicating directly, clearly, and respectfully, being strategic in one's approach, and seeking help if necessary.

Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. In Ontario, the Occupational Health and Safety Act requires employers to implement policies on intimidation and harassment. If an employee feels they are experiencing workplace violence or harassment, they should speak to their supervisor or union representative.

Questions? Contact CCCNIP today! Call 705-472-6515 or email [email protected].