Add To The Pressures Of Modern Life
Office workers may not have heard of it but, according to officebroker.com, which claims to work with 98 per cent of the UK’s serviced office space providers and landlords, it’s “one of the most alarming threats to productivity modem businesses face”.
And it warns Kent firms it could well be here to stay, so has joined forces with leading stress consultant Roe Coleman to investigate if office ADD is unavoidable or if it can be sorted out by taking correct measures.
Office ADD was coined last year by American psychiatrist Dr Ned Hallowell, who noticed office workers with ADD symptoms ΓÇö itΓÇÖs a neuro-behavioral condition, well known to teachers, which usually develops in childhood and is prevalent in one to three per cent of the world’s population.
Symptoms include a poor eye for detail, forgetfulness, short attention span, listening problems, an inability to follow simple instructions, poor organisational skills, avoidance of tasks involving mental effort and the loss of important information.
officebroker.com managing director Jim Venables said: “Everyone has a breaking point when put under a lot of stress. When this point is crossed we break down and our attention diminishes.
“The good news is that there are measures businesses can take to help employees regain control of their lives and manage their workloads.”
Ms Coleman, a member and farmer vice-chairwoman of the International Stress Management Association (UK), said; “Office ADD appearing more prevalent
today could be because of the incredible advances in technology we have had to adapt to.
“On the up side, it is fantastic that we now have access to virtually any information immediately. On the down side, employers expect information immediately, often to unrealistic deadlines.
“As the pressure increases, the effect it is having on individuals is taking its toll. In the UK, one in six people report their jobs to be either very or extremely stressful and work-related stress accounts far one third of all new incidents of ill-health.
This includes mild to severe mental and physical health problems, emotional exhaustion and burnout.
This cause-and-effect situation is what psychiatrists in the United States are now labeling Office ADD. Governments and employers should be taking it very seriously.”
She advises office staff to: prioritise daily workloads; set aside time to go through e-mails each day; respond to new e-mails immediately; if your body is telling to stop don’t ignore it; take regular breaks, leave your desk and drink plenty of fluids, and most important of all, communicate with your boss and with your colleagues.
Mr Venables added: “Communication is the key to overcoming this problem. It is important for organisations to look for symptoms of office ADD among their employees.
“At least if you know the problem you can offer to help. We are all human and there should be no shame for individuals to admit they are struggling. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.”