Is Your Work Doing Your Head In?
Despite this ignorance, the condition is one of the most alarming threats to productivity that modern businesses face, and it could well be here to stay.
Online office broker officebroker.com, which works with 98 per cent of the UK’s serviced office space providers and landlords, has joined forces with leading stress consultant Ros Coleman to investigate if office ADD is an unavoidable consequence of modern office life or a condition companies and individuals can avoid by taking the correct measures.
So what exactly is office ADD? The term was first coined in 2007 by American psychiatrist Dr Ned Hallowell, who noticed that office workers were reporting symptoms consistent with attention deficit disorder – a neuro-behavioural condition which usually develops in childhood and is prevalent in 1-3 per cent of the world’s population.
Symptoms include a poor eye for detail, forgetfulness, short attention span, listening to 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 literally break down and our attention diminishes. The good news is that there are measures businesses can take to help their employees regain control of their lives and manage their workloads.”
Ros added: “A significant reason for the symptoms of office ADD appearing more prevalent today could be because of the incredible advancements 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 for a third of all new incidents of ill-health. This includes mild to severe mental and/or physical health problems, emotional exhaustion and burnout.
This cause and effect situation is what psychiatrists in the United States are now labelling office ADD. Governments and employers should be taking it very seriously.”
officebroker.com and Ros Coleman offer this advice to office staff:
- Prioritise your workload daily
- Set aside time to go through your 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
- Most important of all: communicate with your boss and with your colleagues.
And the following advice to employers:
- Become aware of the symptoms of office ADD., their effects and what to do about them
- Regularly consult individual employees to see if they are coping well with their tasks and have been adequately trained
- If they are having problems try to work something out
- If they are experiencing pressures outside of work then offer them support where you can!
Jim 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.”