The work environment is now a place of unleashed rage for too many Americans. Yelling and verbal abuse can be heard down the hallways of various companies and industries. The response to that behavior is something the media has dubbed, “desk rage”. That’s right, road rage, air rage…now desk rage.
From a psychological perspective, desk rage is rudeness, hostility, physical violence and aggression found in the workplace. A National Crime Victimization Survey (2000) found that Americans experienced approximately 2 million threats of violence and assaults at their workplace. Of that number, 1.5. million were simple assaults. And another study out of the University of North Carolina documented that at least half of the workers interviewed worried about rude and hostile behavior directed at them. This worry affected their work-related productiveness as well. Overall, revenue related to lost productivity, increased security, insurance related payment, and other expenses is estimated to cost employers between 6.4 and 36 billion dollars. And these are old statistics!
What’s going on that so many Americans are going postal?
Desk rage is triggered by stress–boredom, anxiety, lack of control, demands of the job, overcrowding, noise, etc. And while employers try to deal with the problem by finding solutions that decrease stress, such as more than flexible work hours or improved benefits, more is needed. People have to take personal responsibility and manager their anger and stress. Here are ten tips taken from my Breaking Free from Stress booklet:
- Be ready and accepting of change. Change is inevitable in today’s work environment. Adjust your expectations. Be ready for it instead of resisting it. Then roll with it.
- Don’t panic if you are laid off. With corporate downsizing, global market changes, outsourcing, etc. people lose their jobs even when they do well at their jobs. God has to be your ultimate source of provision. Trust God to help you deal with the loss and meet your needs.
- Get a quality education and explore fields that are growing such as technology and health care. Skill development helps make you more marketable. Stay current.
- Be a good steward of your finances. Don’t spend beyond your means or rack of credit card debt. Put money away for a difficult time. Money problems are stressful.
- Maximize your work time. Be clear on work expectations so you know how you will be evaluated. Minimize distractions and meet the goals or renegotiate goals.
- Have integrity on the job. Line up your behavior according to biblical directives. Guidelines for dealing with anger are in the Bible. Read what the Bible has to say and apply these guidelines to your work situations.
- Know what you can’t change and accept it.
- Be balanced. Have a life after work that involves relaxation, family, friends and a vibrant spiritual walk.
- Keep your humor. It relieves stress.
- Don’t easily take offense and offer forgiveness even when it isn’t requested.
If you need additional help, I suggest you pick up a copy of Breaking Free from Anger and Unforgiveness. Stress will never disappear but our reaction to it must be appropriate. Wouldn’t it be great if our stressed out co-workers came to us and said, “Hey, you are in the middle of all this craziness too. How do you manage it?” What an opportunity to talk about the peace of God, the fruit of the spirit and forgiveness.